A bill that would provide arms to the Syrian opposition cleared a first hurdle Tuesday as it passed a US Senate committee, in a bipartisan effort to circumvent President Barack Obama's reluctance to take action, dpa reported.
The measure would give the US government authority to provide arms, military training and other supplies to vetted members of the Syrian opposition.
It would create a 250-million-dollar transition fund to assist in building a post-Bashar al-Assad government, further penalize arms and oil sales to the Damascus-based regime and broaden humanitarian assistance. Obama has provided humanitarian assistance but stopped short of arming the rebels amid fears weapons could fall into the hands of Islamist militants.
The Senate measure has a difficult road to becoming law, given similar concerns among lawmakers in the House of Representatives.