Speed Reads

foreign affairs

Obama wants $500 million to train and arm Syrian rebels

President Obama has asked Congress to appropriate $500 million to train and arm Syrian opposition forces who are battling embattled President Bashar al-Assad. Given all the concerns about mixed loyalties in the complex, intertwined struggles there and elsewhere in the Middle East, the White House said the support would go to "appropriately vetted" members of the opposition.

While reiterating that it did not think there was a military solution to the country's four-year-old civil war, the White House said in a statement that the request "marks another step toward helping the Syrian people defend themselves against regime attacks, push back against the growing number of extremists like ISIS, who find safe haven in the chaos."

The funding is part of a larger $65.8 billion military policy package the administration requested of Congress on Thursday.