United Kingdom

David Cameron Scraps Plan To Arm Rebels in Syria

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Credit: VOA News/wikimedia

British Prime Minister David Cameron is reportedly backing away from the idea that arms should be sent to rebels in Syria. The U.K., along with France, pushed for the European Union to lift its arms embargo on Syria back in May and has already announced plans to send non-lethal military aid to rebels.

According to The Telegraph senior members of the military have told Cameron that sending arms to rebels would be unlikely to make a difference in the conflict and could put British security at risk. The Telegraph reported that an unnamed source close to Downing Street confirmed that Cameron has dropped plans to send weapons to Assad's opposition in Syria. Unsurprisingly, a top commander from the rebel group the Free Syrian Army has spoken out against Cameron's decision, calling it a betrayal.

While members of Assad's opposition are understandably upset that the U.K. has revised its plans to send weapons it is the right thing for British officials to do.

The rebels in Syria are a diverse bunch, including jihadist groups with links to Al Qaeda, and it is understandable that senior military figures are concerned that arms sent to the rebels could end up in the hands of these jihadist groups.

Lawmakers in the U.S. are also hesitant to approve plans to send groups to rebels, citing similar concerns.

Although western support for sending weapons to rebels in Syria is waning Arab states have already sent weapons to Assad's opposition. 

Of course Cameron's hesitancy to send weapons to rebels is not an indication that the British government is necessarily abandoning interventionism. Cameron has already shown that he is willing to intervene abroad given the right set of circumstances, having backed intervention in Libya, an operation that addressed a situation that while perhaps unwise to get involved in was not as complicated as the situation in Syria.