New recruits attend a military training to be part of the Free Syrian Army in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus, February 16, 2014. (REUTERS/Ammar al-Bushy)
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Rebels in southern Syria say they are planning a spring offensive against the capital Damascus, as the White House continues to mull its options after the failure of this month's latest round of Geneva II peace talks.Amid reports that opposition backers are set to deliver sophisticated weapons to the rebels to help tip the military balance, the U.S. still believes that diplomacy is the best way to end the war but all options were being considered, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday, after a second round of peace negotiations broke up in Switzerland over the weekend without making progress. Both regime and opposition sources say that an offensive targeting Damascus from the south would include fighters trained by Western forces in neighboring Jordan.The Syrian army, meanwhile, is redeploying troops in Qunaitra province located on the cease-fire line with Israel and stepping up shelling on rebel positions in Deraa to stop any advance, opposition fighters say. Both regime and opposition sources say the offensive on Damascus will involve thousands of rebels who have been receiving combat training for the past year from the United States and other Western countries in Jordan.
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