ABC News reports President Obama “formally authorized” shipments of non-lethal equipment and supplies “specifically aimed at countering the threat of Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons” to Syria.
Obama signed an order waiving Arms Export Control Act prohibitions against such shipments, citing the equipment and supplies as “essential to the national security interests of the United States.”
The items shipped include “personal protective gear and medical supplies.” They are being sent to “vetted” members of the Syrian opposition, “international groups inside Syria, and any other organizations working to [prevent further use of chemical weapons].”
A member of Obama’s administration said this aid has been in the works since the alleged August 21 chemical attack. It is treated as “separate from the lethal and other assistance the U.S. has been shipping to Syria.”
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