US officials debate arming Syria's rebels

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By BRADLEY KLAPPER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials are meeting beginning Monday to discuss arming Syria's rebels and other options available for President Barack Obama and his advisers.

Officials say top aides from the State and Defense departments, the CIA and other agencies are gathering in the White House Monday afternoon. There, they'll seek to lay the groundwork for a meeting that Obama will hold with his senior national security staff, planned for Wednesday.

Moved by the Assad regime's rapid military advance, officials say the Obama administration could decide this week to approve lethal aid for the rebels. It will also weigh the merits of a no-fly zone, though officials say any decision on that step is unlikely.

The officials were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.

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