The White House on Thursday (8 December) announced a new waiver order by President Barack Obama that would lift restrictions on military support for foreign forces and others in Syria if considered "essential to the national security interests of the United States".
The changes, which would allow "foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals" fighting for the interests of the US to be able to access military assistance, were pursuant to the four-decades-old Arms Export Control Act.
"I hereby determine that the transaction, encompassing the provision of defense articles and services to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals engaged in supporting or facilitating ongoing US military operations to counter terrorism in Syria, is essential to the national security interests of the United States," Obama stated in the presidential determination.
According to the document, responsibility for the same will be delegated to the US secretary of state to work with and report to Congress on weapons export proposals. It would require 15 days of notice before they are authorized.
This is not the first time that the president has made amendments to the Arms Export Control Act in regards to Syria. A similar determination was announced in September 2013 following the Ghouta chemical attack in August of the same year. The waiver allowed for distribution of US military weaponry to "select vetted members" of opposition forces fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
However, in comparison to the one in 2013, the recent order has a broader scope and could be interpreted in multiple ways based on what group the US identifies as a terrorist threat.