President Barack Obama's decision to authorize lethal aid to Syrian rebels marks a deepening of U.S. involvement in the two-year civil war. But U.S. officials are still grappling with what type of weaponry to send the forces and how to ensure the equipment stays out of the hands of extremists.
U.S. officials confirm Obama's authorization after the White House announced Thursday that it had conclusive evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime used chemical weapons against opposition forces. Obama has said the use of chemical weapons would cross a "red line" triggering greater American intervention.
Obama views the deployment of the deadly agents as flouting international norms. Officials say the result will be an increase in the size and scope of U.S. military assistance to the rebels.