Syrian President Bashar Assad will be remembered as “one of the worst tyrants of his era,” the White House said Tuesday.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that the United States and other allies would continue to support the opposition to Assad and stressed he would eventually be removed from power.
“There is no way out of this that doesn’t include a transition to a post-Assad Syria,” he said.
“The Syrian people will not stand for it, and the Syrian opposition and the military opposition will continue to resist Assad and resist with the assistance of the United States and many partners and allies in the effort.”
“Bashar al-Assad will now go down in history as one of the worst tyrants of his era with just a terrible amount of blood on his hands, the blood of his own people.”
The White House announced in June that it would offer military aid to vetted groups of Syrian rebels. It appears the United States is closer to making that happen for the first time.
Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees have had concerns that the arms could end up in the hands of Islamist militants in Syria like the Nusra Front.
But, on Monday, House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers told Reuters that “we believe we are in a position that the [Obama] administration can move forward” with a plan to provide Syria’s rebels with arms.
"It is important to note that there are still strong reservations," Rogers said. "We got a consensus that we could move forward with what the administration's plans and intentions are in Syria consistent with committee reservations."
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee tentatively agreed in June that the administration could go ahead with arms shipments, but sought updates as the covert effort proceeded.
The timeline was unclear, but supporters of the rebels hope the deliveries of U.S.-provided arms will start in August, according to Reuters.
They hope for "a large number of small weapons" such as rifles and basic anti-tank weapons, Louay Sakka, a co-founder of the Syrian Support Group, which backs the Free Syrian Army fighting Assad, told the news service.
More than 100,000 people have been killed in the civil war that began with mass demonstrations against Assad's rule during the Arab Spring.
Reuters contributed to this report.
First published July 23 2013, 11:25 AM