CIA trains and spies for Syrian rebels – report

2d57cia intelligence syrian rebels CIA trains and spies for Syrian rebels – report

The CIA’s increased involvement in Syria is part America’sgreater engagement in the war-torn country, according to The WallStreet Journal. The spy agency has selected some small rebel unitsfrom the Free Syrian Army to receive combat training and freshintel they can act upon, the newspaper says, citing unnamed USofficials and rebel commanders.The training is provided by the CIA, working together withBritish, French and Jordanian intelligence agencies. The rebels aretaught to use various kinds of arms, including anti-tank weapons.They are also schooled in urban combat tactics andcounterintelligence tactics. The experience will supposedly help them stand against theprofessional Syrian army, which scores victories against the armedopposition thanks to both more advanced weapons and betterorganization.The rebels are also receiving fresh intelligence collected bythe CIA, which they can act upon at short notice. The extent of theinfo provided remains in secret, but the US can potentially providewhat they gather trough satellite and signal surveillance as wellas intelligence coming through exchanges with Israeli and Jordanianagencies.The CIA is said to keep this part of dealing with the rebelslimited, withholding sensitive types of information, like thesuspected locations of Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles.The US spy agency was previously working in Turkey vetting rebelgroups for receiving arms shipments from Gulf monarchies. Theeffort aimed at preventing the weapons from being funneled toIslamists had mixed results, the WSJ says. The CIA also works withIraqi counterterrorism units to counter the flow of Islamistmilitants across the border to Syria.The White House has been reluctant to send combat-worthyequipment to Syrian rebels, despite calls inside the US and from Gulf and some Europeancountries to do so. It is concerned that those would end up in thehand of the more powerful Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist force, theNusra Front. Unlike arms, the intelligence from CIA isoperationally useful for a short period of time and would not betraded for years to come, a US official explained.Washington’s concern over the growing influence of the NusraFront was reiterated on Friday by President Barack Obama, as he wasvisiting Jordan as part of his Middle Eastern tour. “I am very concerned about Syria becoming an enclave forextremism because extremists thrive in chaos, they thrive in failedstates, they thrive in power vacuums,” Obama said after meetingJordan’s King Abdullah II.The Nusra Front is believed to be responsible for the bloodiestbombings in Syria over the past months. The latest such attack wasthe assassination of Mohammad Buti and influential Sunni preacherand supporter of the Syrian government. Buti was killed on Thursday along with some 50 otherswhen a car bomb was detonated near a Damascus mosque.The US is reportedly gathering intelligence on Nusra Frontcommanders and fighters for a possible campaign of targeted drone killing similar to thosethe CIA wages in Pakistan and Yemen and the Pentagon inAfghanistan.

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CIA trains and spies for Syrian rebels – report

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