Syria: Obama Signs Covert Order Authorizing Support For Rebels
President Obama has also reportedly signed a covert order that authorizes US support for the rebel forces fighting to depose Assad and his government. The order was approved earlier this year and allows the Central Intelligence Agency and other US agencies to provide aid to help the rebels remove President Bashar al-Assad from power.
The day after Kofi Annan quit as special envoy to the United Nations and the Arab League, the UN General Assembly is to vote on a resolution criticizing the Security Council for failing to take action on Syria in a conflict that has lasted for 17 months and, with the death toll exceeding 20,000, has proved the bloodiest of the Arab Spring uprisings.
The UN will also denounce Syria for sending tanks, artillery, military helicopters and warplanes against the populations of Aleppo and Damascus and demand that Assad’s regime not use its chemical and biological weapons and keep these under strict control.
This anti-Syria resolution is expected to pass the vote of the 193-member General Assembly. Its Arab sponsors had included demands — removed at the objection of Russia and others — that Assad step down and that other nations also place sanctions on the nation, which is now in the midst of civil war.
Annan was appointed in February to seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria. But the terms of the six-point peace proposal that he negotiated with Assad in April have never been carried out, says the Guardian:
Critics had assailed Annan’s plan from the start on the grounds that it allowed Assad to pay lip service to diplomacy and haggle over the terms while pursuing a violent crackdown on the opposition.
Apart from a few days in April, the Syrian government ignored calls for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of forces from cities. Few prisoners were released, access for humanitarian workers and the media was limited and political dialogue proved impossible as positions polarised.
A force of 300 UN observers was mobilized slowly over six weeks and could only stand by as violence — the Houla massacre — increased.
Fighting rages on in Syria. Regime forces have been seeking to regain control of Aleppo from the Free Syrian Army, which claims that it controls 50 percent of the city. Activists estimate that at least 170 people died on Thursday, with dozens being killed in Hama and at least 15 in a Palestinian refugee camp at Yarmouk, near Damascus, by a mortar.
The White House also reported on Thursday that Obama has approved an extra $12 million in lifesaving humanitarian aid to Syrians, bringing the amount of US aid for food, water and medical supplies to $76 million.
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