A Syrian rebel fires at soldiers loyal to President Bashar Assad in Aleppo. Experts see little appetite among European nations for adding more weapons to the bloody civil war.McClatchy Newspapers

BERLIN – When the Obama administration begins arming Syrian rebels through the CIA, something news reports say will happen within the next month, it probably it will be acting without help from its European allies.

Despite the end of the European Union’s embargo on supplying weapons to the rebels, which expired May 30, experts see little will or appetite among European nations for adding more weapons to the bloody Syrian civil war. Not even the British, who were pressing just weeks ago for arming the rebels, are likely to do so.

In part, that sentiment is based on a deep concern that not enough is known about the groups that make up the rebel forces. In particular, the prominence of the Nusra Front, with strong ties to al-Qaida and the al-Qaida-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq, raises concerns that any weapons sent into that conflict might be used eventually against international troops or interests, either in Syria or elsewhere.

“There is a sense of guilt in Europe at seeing the Russians and Iranians continue to supply the regime,” said Dominique Moisi, a security expert at the French Institute of International Relations in Paris. “But there is no enthusiasm for getting involved.”

The vast majority of European nations strongly supported keeping the arms embargo in effect. But because EU decisions must be unanimous, the refusal of Britain and France to renew it meant it was allowed to expire. That may say more about the notion of a single European foreign policy than it does about sentiment to arm the rebels.

Experts suspect Britain and France were motivated by the hope that the threat of sending weapons would pressure Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime to slow its attacks on the rebels and would dissuade Russia and Iran from continuing to arm the regime. But there’s no belief that France or Britain will provide the arms.

“Those who are against sending weapons are passionately against it. Those in favor are timidly in favor of sending weapons,” Moisi said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that Germany won’t be arming anyone involved in the war. The Austrians, Belgians, Greeks and Irish have made similar statements.