Washington’s logistical aid, such as surveillance and intelligence, would be essential to keep weapons routes open and reaching the right rebel units, analysts say.
‘‘Still, I don’t think we are quite at the green-light stage for weapons,’’ said Theodore Karasik, a regional security expert at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis. ‘‘I think the jury is still out on what types of weapons are needed.’’
Karasik believes Syrian rebels have the capability to hold ground with the weapons they have as the conflict increasingly takes on the urban combat showdowns of past insurgencies such as Chechnya.
‘‘They are fighting a Soviet-built army using Soviet and Russian tactics,’’ he said. ‘‘You can probably fight that with the weapons you already have on the ground ... Anything else, like anti-aircraft capabilities, could help tip the scales.’’
Two likely routes for stepped up military aid would be Turkey and Jordan — both bordering on pockets of rebel-held territory.
The regime could face yet another challenge if Israel gets drawn into the fighting, something that would further stretch Assad’s already struggling forces.
An Israeli tank struck a Syrian army vehicle Monday after a mortar shell landed on Israeli-held territory, the military said, in the first direct confrontation between the countries since the Syrian uprising broke out, sharpening fears that Israel could be drawn into the civil war next door.
Israel has steadfastly tried to avoid getting sucked into the Syrian conflict, but it has grown increasingly worried after a series of mortar shells have struck territory in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights in recent days. On Sunday, Israel fired a ‘‘warning shot’’ into Syria in response to the shelling.
Murphy reported from Dubai. AP writers Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow, Dale Gavlak in Amman, Jordan, and Aron Heller in Jerusalem contributed to this report.