CIA provides intelligence to Syrian rebels: Report


WASHINGTON: The US Central Intelligence Agency has been feeding information to rebel fighters in Syria to try to make them more effective against government troops, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

Citing unnamed current and former US officials, the newspaper said the new CIA effort reflected a change in the administration’s approach that aims to strengthen secular rebel fighters.

The CIA has sent officers to Turkey to help vet rebels who receive arms shipments from Washington’s Arab Gulf allies, the report said.

According to the report, the West favours fighters aligned with the Free Syrian Army, which supports the Syrian Opposition Coalition political group.

Syrian opposition commanders said the CIA had been working with British, French and Jordanian intelligence services to train rebels in the use of various kinds of weapons, the paper said.

The move comes as the al Nusra Front, the main Al Qaeda-linked group operating in Syria, is deepening its ties to the terrorist organisation’s central leadership in Pakistan, The Journal said.

The new aid to rebels doesn’t change the US decision against taking direct military action, the paper noted.

Meanwhile US President Barack Obama and Jordan’s King Abdullah agreed to stand united against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who is fighting foreign-sponsored militants.

At a joint press conference with King Abdullah in Amman on Friday, Obama called on the international community to prepare a credible opposition to succeed Assad in Syria. 

“Jordan is an invaluable element and a great friend that we will continue to support and work with,” Obama told reporters. 

Obama promised military training for the Syrian opposition. “We will provide resources, training and capacity for the Syrian opposition to maintain links and provide services to people,” said Obama. 

The US president also pledged 200 million dollars to King Abdullah to deal with more than 460,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan. 

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of Syrian army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence. 

The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals. 

Damascus says the West and its regional allies including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are supporting the militants. Agencies

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