CIA 'giving intelligence to Syrian rebels'

2013-03-23 11:26

Washington - The US Central Intelligence Agency has been feeding information to select rebel fighters in Syria to try to make them more effective against government troops, The Wall Street Journal reported on 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 Gulf allies, the report said.

But administration officials cited concerns about some weapons going to Islamists, the paper noted.

In Iraq, the CIA has been directed by the White House to work with elite counterterrorism units to help the Iraqis counter the flow of al-Qaeda linked fighters across the border with Syria, The Journal 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.

  • Sean Potgieter - 2013-03-23 12:40

    Liberation from one tyrant and placing them under the yoke of a new one. Libya and Egypt post-arab spring are not looking too good. Al Quaeda's black flag has been spotted flying in places in Libya. The Muslim Brotherhood is also smiling all the way to the bank.

      Marang Lesedi - 2013-03-23 15:08

      What tyrant are you referring to? A country that was once an oasis of tolerance and secularism in a desert of religious extremism and curtailed human rights is run by a tyrant?

  • keith.minter.90 - 2013-03-23 12:50

    It seems like the US and it's allies are supporting the rebels just enough to perpetuate this war. Chances are this war would've been over with far fewer dead by now if it was allowed to follow its natural course.

  • Themba Khumalo - 2013-03-23 15:16

    Jezebel.....The ANC is not a communist party. Get to know the truth before pronouncing bigotry and bias as fact. Secondly, the Vietnamese were fighting to liberate their country from the Americans and their puppets, and they did just that. It is such common knowledge world-wide I am amazed an ardent American fan like you does not know this. They (Vietcong), had no desire to march into Washington. Dont take those Rambo movies literally. The reality was much painful for Americans, and some have yet to recover from the trauma of 'Nam.

  • Themba Khumalo - 2013-03-23 16:04

    However much I dont agree with Jessibelle, I think its wrong and unfair of News24 to censor her and to remove her comments. There is something called freedom of speech.

      goyougoodthing - 2013-03-24 10:30

      They remove mine too mate. But well said.

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