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Hopefully a helpful move

Jun 28,2014 - Last updated at Jun 28,2014

It may be too early to determine whether US President Barack Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval for extending an aid package to the “moderate” Syrian opposition could be a game changer in the conflict in this Arab country, but one thing could be deduced: that the US administration has decided to take a more resolute decision vis-à-vis the crisis.

The aid package, to the tune of half a billion-dollars, includes military hardware and training.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians lost their lives during the past three-and-a-half years of civil war due to the inaction of the international community, which failed to come up with a workable and enforceable solution to the conflict or to lay the foundation for a negotiated settlement.

Aiding the moderate Syrian opposition may succeed in stemming the tide of extremism, including that of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is gaining ground in the region.

Washington, like many other Western countries, must have finally come to the realisation that leaving the Syrian opposition weak and on its own greatly enables radicals to penetrate the battlefield.

The brutal way in which Syrian President Bashar Assad crushed the once peaceful demonstrations may have ignited the bloody conflict in Syria, but the West’s inaction, its lack of support for the moderate opposition, simply prolonged the war and made the prospects for a peaceful resolution more difficult to attain.

The militarisation of the conflict made it easy for extremist elements to join the fray, wreaking even more havoc on an already damaged country.

Increasing support for the moderate forces even at this late hour might also improve the chances for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, for, as long as the Assad regime believes that a military solution is within reach, it will not seek in earnest a negotiated settlement.

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