Issues

NBC: ‘Tons of Weapons’ Have Arrived for Syrian Rebels

NBC's Richard Engel reported on Meet the Press Sunday that Free Syrian Army commander Salim Idris had confirmed that "large weapon supplies" had come for the rebel forces, which they hoped would change the momentum of the war there.

Engel also said that Idris believed Syrian president Bashar al-Assad had personally ordered the use of chemical weapons on civilians last week:

DAVID GREGORY: NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel joins me now from Turkey. Richard, you got additional information about what's happening on the ground in Syria.

ENGEL: Several new developments, David. We've spoken to the commander of the Free Syrian Army, Salim Idris, and he confirmed to us that large weapons supplies have arrived to the rebel force. They came through Turkey, and we're talking about tons of weapons that they hope will change the momentum of the battle. General Idris also told us that he believes that Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, personally ordered the use of chemical weapons against civilians in those outskirts of Damascus last week. When we asked why, he said two reasons. One, that Syria was responding to a failed assassination attempt against Bashar al-Assad when there was an attack on Bashar al-Assad's personal convoy in Damascus earlier this month. He said that infuriated him, and he ordered his military council to draw up options, including the use of chemical weapons. The second reason, according to the general, was that the rebels in this area that was attacked, which is right on the outskirts of Damascus, had recently acquired their own weapons. They had taken some missiles from the regime and that Syria found this unacceptable, that it couldn't have such well-armed rebels right on the outskirts of Damascus, and that these two things combined, the failed assassination attempt and then these heavily armed rebels right on bashar al assad's doorstep, led the Syrian president to take this action.