Syrian rebels feel let down by delay on U.S. strikes

The Los Angeles Times reports: Syrian rebel commanders preparing for possible U.S. missile strikes against the government said Saturday that they were concerned President Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval would mean one more broken promise of help.

Obama’s announcement came late in the day in the Middle East, and there was no immediate reaction from authorities in Damascus, the Syrian capital. The government labeled as lies U.S. accusations that Syria killed more than 1,400 people, including 426 children, in an Aug. 21 chemical attack on the outskirts of Damascus.

The delay appeared to be at least a minor victory for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Rebel commanders say the limited campaign Obama has described in recent days is insufficient, and delaying it further will only allow the Syrian government to protect its military assets.

“They are all playing us,” said 1st Lt. Muhammad Sheikh, who leads a rebel militia in Rastan in Homs province, referring to the international community. “The Syrian people were very hopeful.”

Musab Abu Qatada, spokesman for the Damascus military council of the Free Syrian Army rebel group, said the lengthy debate in the West had allowed the government to move weapons and soldiers into schools, empty residential buildings and underground garages.

An entire regiment and intelligence unit has been moved into university dorms and more than a dozen schools throughout the capital, he said. [Continue reading…]

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