As a wary US Congress passed a resolution authorizing the Barack Obama administration to arm Syrian rebels against the Islamic State IS, and as US military planners consider airstrikes against IS in Syria, Al-Monitor’s Syria Pulse covered how Syrians, suffering from more than three years of war, might react.Khaled Attalah reports from Damascus that Syrians there prefer a political solution to the war rather than US airstrikes.The National Coordinating Committee for Democratic Change in Syria rejects US intervention in Syria, even with the Syrian government’s approval.Attalah writes, “After mobilizing its allies from around the world, the White House hopes that by using force and launching airstrikes, the IS threat will disappear. However, the Syrian people are not only hoping to be rid of this terrorist group, but also the bloody bottleneck they have been living through for more than three years.”Reporting from the Al-Bab region, an IS stronghold east of Aleppo, Al-Monitor columnist Edward Dark writes that the prospect of US airstrikes is being greeted with more anxiety than enthusiasm, and could redound to the advantage of IS.Dark speculates that “it would be foolish to believe that US military action against IS is popular here or will go down well, especially when civilian casualties start to mount. On the contrary, it will most likely prove counterproductive, stoking anti-Western resentment among the population and increasing support for IS, driving even more recruits to its ranks. The terror group knows this well, which is why it is secretly overjoyed at the prospect of military action against it. In its calculations, the loss of fighters to strikes is more than outweighed by the outpouring of support it expects both locally and on the international jihadist scene.”In a separate report from Aleppo, Dark questions the wisdom and timing of an expanded train-and-equip approach to US- and Saudi-backed opposition groups.“The failure of these groups to make substantial gains against the regime or the jihadists despite a large investment in arms, funds and training begs the question of what has now changed. If they were unreliable then, what makes them a viable option now? Not only were some of them merely unreliable, but they also openly collaborated and allied with al-Qaeda-linked groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra, or through sheer incompetence and corruption allowed Western-supplied weapons and equipment to fall into the hands of extremists.