A Free Syrian Army (FSA) official said on Saturday it would take six months for opposition fighters to overthrow the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime now that U.S. has agreed on arming the rebels.
Brigadier General Salim Idriss, the current chief of Staff of the Supreme Military Council of the FSA, told Al Arabiya that the rebels’ fight would depend on how much support the U.S. is planning to offer.
“If we only get some armed support, we will continue to battle for a long time. But if receive enough training and arms and are well-organized, I think we need about six months to topple the regime,” Idriss said.
The White House said on Thursday that it will provide military assistance to the opposition after it has been concluded that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against the Syrian people and crossed what President Barack Obama had called a "red line."
The Obama administration said it has provided Russia with the proof of the chemical weapons in Syria and that the subject will be discussed at an upcoming G8 summit.
The White House, in a statement issued late Thursday, said the use of chemical weapons “violates international norms and crosses clear red lines.”
Russia said on Saturday there was no need for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to use chemical weapons against the rebels because his forces were making steady advances on the ground.
“The regime, as the opposition is saying out in the open, is enjoying military success on the ground,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters during a joint press appearance with his Italian counterpart Emma Bonino, AFP reported.
“What sense is there for the regime to use chemical arms -- especially in such small amounts?” Lavrov asked.
Russia said on Friday it was unconvinced by U.S. allegations that Assad had used chemical weapons against his own people.
Syrian warplanes bomb Damascus
On Saturday, Syrian regime forces bombarded rebel positions in Damascus and its surroundings with air raids and artillery fire, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP.
“Air raids targeted parts of Juba,” a neighborhood on the eastern outskirts of the Syrian capital where rebel fighters and regime troops have battled for months.
Fighting was also reported around dawn on the outskirts of the Palestinian Yarmuk camp in southern Damascus, which also came under regime fire.
Outside of the capital, regime troops fired mortar shells at several areas including western Moadamiyat al-Sham, southern Sbeineh and the region of Wadi Barada, north-west of Damascus.
Elsewhere in the country, regime forces were shelling parts of the central Homs region, Aleppo in the north and southern Daraa, AFP reported.