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Senate panel backs arming Syrian rebels

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News,Nation,Senate,National Security,Syria,Middle East,Foreign Policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate panel has backed U.S. military training and equipment for vetted Syrian rebels battling the government of President Bashar Assad in the civil war now in its fourth year.

Sen. Carl Levin, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, told reporters on Thursday that the panel had included a provision in its version of the defense bill that would authorize the Defense Department to help the rebels. The committee wrapped up its policy bill, which now goes to the full Senate.

Members of Congress have expressed frustration with the Obama administration's response to the ongoing violence in Syria, where more than 150,000 people have been killed and millions of others displaced.

The CIA has been training vetted rebels in Turkey and Jordan.

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