The U.S. House of Representatives voted this evening to give Congressional authorization to the Secretary of Defense to immediately begin the process of training and equipping the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the moderate opposition fighting the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The measure that passed with strong bipartisan support restricts the Administration’s authority, emphasizes Congressional oversight and places a 90 day time limit on the authorization.
“It’s clear that ISIL is the best equipped and financed terrorist threat America has faced, and left unchecked is a grave threat to our security,” said Texas Republican Congressman Kevin Brady, who voted in favor of the legislation. “Air strikes alone are not enough; capable armed forces on the ground are necessary.”
“While I’m not convinced this needed first step is nearly enough to defeat ISIL, America needs to act now to train and equip vetted Syrian forces that are already on the ground, fighting against our common enemy where they live. The responsibility is now President Obama’s to build a coalition with our allies to eliminate this terror threat, including strengthening our own border against the thousands of fighters who hold Western passports and can easily travel to Europe and the United States.”