With rebels having retreated and Syria arm forces having moved into the opposition stronghold of Baba Amr, there are calls in the international community for limited military intervention against President Basal al-Assad’s government.
Danielle Pletka , an analyst with the Conservative American Enterprise Institute agrees.
“It’s something that would not get us heavily involved. Yes, but I think that we ought to look first at the opinion of arming the Free Syria Army as our first line of offense against Assad.”
The Obama administration has said it will consider every tool available to stop the slaughter, but has made no comments on possibly supplying arms.
Phyllis Bennis, an analyst with the Progressive Institute for Policy Studies, says any militarization is a bad idea.
“That regime is strongest in the military arena. Weakest in the arena of international legitimacy, human rights, the support of the population, etc. So as soon as you make it entirely a military battle, you are playing to the strength of the regime.”
Some experts argue the opposition is too fragmented and not under a central command, making it difficult to know to whom the weapons would go. Analyst Pletka says these concerns give pause, but are not crucial if the goal is to remove the Assad regime.
"Do we want to try and unify them politically and help them militarily through the provision of weaponry potentially not necessarily directly by the United States, but by our gulf allies for example? I think the answer to that is yes."
There are also concerns that arming opposition groups could fuel sectarian tensions and lead to a deeper civil war. Again Analyst Benlas:
“Then you are left with a lot of unaccountable militias, very similar to the situation now facing people in Libya where you have powerful militias that are holding prisoners, being alleged to be committing terrible human rights violations, and no accountability to anyone.”
There have also been reports of organizations on the U.S terrorist list such as Al-Qaida and Hamas lending supports to the opposition. Pletka argues the longer the U.S waits, the more likely these groups will sway influence in Syria.
“The answer is to find people you want to work with, do your best to unify them, do your best to give them the political cause and government exile and leadership that they can answer to and then work with them to oust Assad.”
Until now, Saudi Arabia is believed to be the main supplier of weapons to the opposition. But Syria watchers believe more are on the way.
On Friday, the Turkey’s Foreign Minister met with the Syria opposition with the discussion of arm supplies on the table.