Obama 'signs action backing Syrian rebels'

2012-08-02 09:08
AFP

AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - President Barack Obama has signed a covert document authorising US support for Syrian rebels locked in a battle to overthrow beleaguered President Bashar Assad, reports said on Wednesday.

The directive was contained in a "finding" - a device authorising clandestine action by the Central Intelligence Agency, NBC and CNN said, citing unidentified sources.

White House officials declined to comment on the reports but did not specifically rule out the idea that Washington was providing more intelligence support to anti-Assad forces than had previously been made public.

Washington has previously said that it is offering medical and communications assistance to Syrian rebels but declined to supply arms, warning it would be counter-productive to further "weaponise" the conflict.

Officials have confided they are wary of sending armaments to groups about which little is known and who some experts fear may eventually display extremist tendencies.

Reports of an increased US role with Syrian rebels came as the violent showdown in Syria appeared to be edging closer to an endgame, and clashes raged between government and opposition forces in Damascus and Aleppo.

No indication of policy change

They also coincided with rising political pressure on the White House to demonstrate more support for the opposition in Syria, despite US reluctance to become more directly involved in another Middle Eastern war.

It was not clear when Obama signed the secret order. There was no indication however that Washington had changed its overarching policy of not directly providing arms to the rebels.

On Monday, Obama spoke by telephone with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the two leaders agreed to "accelerate a political transition in Syria", the White House said.

This "would include the departure of Bashar Assad and be responsive to the legitimate demands of the Syrian people", the statement said.

Syria is in the grip of a conflict now in its 17th month, triggered by Assad's brutal repression of a pro-democracy revolt. Western and Arab powers have called for him to step down and allow an orderly transition of power.

Washington has been frustrated by Russian and Chinese opposition to direct punitive action against Assad in the UN Security Council and appears now to be seeking ways outside the world body to pressure his regime.

Read more on:    recep tayyip erdogan  |  bashar assad  |  barack obama  |  syria  |  syria conflicts  |  uprisings
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
45 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Must see: The world’s most expensive timepiece

At $40 million this is the most expensive watch in the world.

 
 

Luxury living

Ridiculous demands people with too much money make
8 of the priciest places to dock your yacht
Habits of the world’s richest people
The rich dogs of Instagram
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something may upset the apple cart today which can leave you feeling a bit out of balance. Blame it on the new Moon as there is a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.