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Hagel says US rethinking opposition to arming rebels

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is rethinking its opposition to arming rebels opposed to the Syrian government, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday.

At a Pentagon news conference, Hagel said the administration is considering a range of options. He said he personally has not decided whether it would be wise to provide weapons to the rebels.

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‘‘Arming the rebels — that’s an option,’’ he said. ‘‘We must continue to look at options.’’ He said the U.S. is considering a range of options in consultation with allies.

At the same news conference, British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said his government has not yet provided arms to the Syrian rebels but would not rule it out.

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