Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement today after voting in favor of the McKeon amendment to give President Obama the authority to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
"The civil war in Syria has claimed thousands of lives and thousands more are now living under the deadly rule of ISIL. I voted in favor of training and better equipping the Free Syrian Army (FSA) today because I believe aiding the Syrian rebels is our best on-the-ground option for stopping ISIL.
"Any military action against ISIL must be led by Iraqis and Syrians. The amendment passed today allows for the training and support of vetted Syrian groups. It ensures training will not take place in Syria -- keeping American troops away from the battlefield. The amendment also brings a previously secret operation to help the rebels into the light and ensures the process of aiding them is more transparent.
"I believe the conflicts in Syria and Iraq will only be resolved through inclusive political agreements, but we cannot stand on the sidelines while thousands of innocent lives are lost. The Syrian rebels can be an effective force against the spread of ISIL."