CIA vetting arms flow to Syria rebels

2012-06-21 14:01

Washington - US intelligence operatives in Turkey are vetting the flow of weapons to Syrian rebels to ensure they do not fall into the hands of al-Qaeda militants, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

The Times cited unnamed US officials and Arab intelligence officials as saying the weapons were being paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and funnelled across the border by a shadowy opposition network.

The weapons include automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some anti-tank weapons, which have allowed the rebels to fight back against the far superior forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Times said Central Intelligence Agency operatives in southern Turkey are overseeing the weapons shipments and gathering information on Syria's fragmented opposition.

"CIA officers are there and they are trying to make new sources and recruit people," the Times quoted an Arab intelligence official who is briefed regularly by US counterparts as saying.

The Times quoted US officials as saying they were considering stepping up aid to the rebels by providing satellite imagery and other intelligence, but had yet to take a final decision on the matter.


The Times report comes a week after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Russia of sending helicopters to its close ally Syria, sparking a row with Moscow, which has rebuffed Western calls for Assad to step down.

Washington has denied arming the opposition, and Russia has denied sending any weapons to Syria that could be used against anti-regime protesters.

Russia has also denied sending new helicopters to Syria, saying it has only carried out repairs and routine maintenance on helicopters supplied many years ago. A Russian ship allegedly carrying attack helicopters and destined for Syria was turned back from British waters earlier this week.

The Syrian revolt began in March 2011 with a wave of peaceful protests against the Assad family's 42-year reign, but has become increasingly militarised over the course of a brutal 15-month crackdown.

More than 14 400 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began.

  • mnbain - 2012-06-21 14:40

    Wow that is disturbing!!! Sending weapons into the conflict zone... so long as they only go to people we like??

  • cyanideandhappiness - 2012-06-21 15:02

    Wtf?! Does this not constitute as war by proxy? What happened to all that fat talk about allowing Syria to sort this problem out themselves! This whole rebellion has been fuelled by the CIA from the start, and this is the most stunning revelation on the true nature of this conflict that I have seen in the mainstream media to date!

      goyougoodthing - 2013-03-23 11:43

      The CIA does not work for the USA, it works for the 1%. The bankers.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-21 15:25

    GREAT !! The Syrians need every bit of support from whomever, to defeat those assad TERRORISTS. The Syrians want their country back , stolen from them. That is not an unreasonable demand !! And to all who deny the freedom to others, which you yourself ABUSE; SHAME ON YOU !!!!

  • morena.tsolo - 2012-06-21 15:28

    Another man's terrerist is another man's freedom fighter by Fidel Castro.

  • dave.kofang - 2012-06-21 15:36

    World war 3 on its way.This time nuclear weapons will used.

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-21 18:52

    Good to know the CIA is monitoring this. Deeply disappointing that Obama, who has turned out to be a politician not a leader, is allowing the slaughter of Syrians and the destruction of Syria.

      goyougoodthing - 2013-03-23 11:44

      And you thought it would be any different? pft.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-06-22 00:37

    Nothing new or suprising really. The US has installed and supported contras to overthrow governments they didn't like in over 50 countries, including funding the Dalai Lama to fight the Chinese communists who came to power in the late 40s. In all of these regime change operations, a worst brutal junta was imposed on the population to facilitate the looting of said country's resources by US corporations, nothing to do whatsoever wit the nonsense of spreading democracy or human rights. And yet daily on these threads there are ignorant and stupid imbeciles who defend this corrupt,greedy, brutal, murderous and sinister corporatocracy.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-22 04:49

      What a silly , ignorant comment. To deny that a people are demanding to have a say over their own destiny is absurd. This terrorist assad, is a member of a minority tribe. For 50 years this assad family has ruled Syria with an iron fist. Tens of thousans of oppostion members have been murdered over those years. You want to deny that that there are millions in the opposition ??? You want to deny that a dictator can only survive with installing 'fear' into 'his' people. You want to deny that at a certain point, the 'fear factor' is no longer tenable. You want to deny that when the Syrians saw what happened in Tunesia ,than Egypt and than Libya, they wanted to get rid of their own dictator. You and your fellow radicals/extremists only put up smoke screens, cause you hate democracy, for the reason you can't impose you silly, outdated political views onto the masses. ""And yet daily on these threads there are ignorant and stupid imbeciles who defend this corrupt,greedy, brutal, murderous and sinister corporatocracy'' What an utter BS !!! To deny others the right to dertemine they own destiny, while ABUSING your own freedom, is a crime !!!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-22 05:02

      Now the Dalai Lama is on the US payroll. :) It can't get stupider than this.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-06-24 00:18

      @fred Denying the truth never made it go away. look it up stupid!

  • jans.opresser - 2012-06-23 21:31

    the americans are lying! they told the same lies in libya and all of gadafi's weapons ended up in the hands of BOKO HARAM in Nigeria,AQIM in Mali,which has lead to the destabilisation of northern africa. no one can refute this because it has already been confirmed by the same C.I.A. who some of you people now champion in syria...shame on you hypocrites!!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-28 04:51

      What do you suggest be done to help the Syrian people, who want nothing more than the right to vote after 48 years of unelected and brutal dictatorship by the minority Assad family, and who are being butchered by him?

      goyougoodthing - 2013-03-23 12:39

      How do you know what the Syrians want Fred? Has anyone bothered to ask them? Besides, this entire Arab Spring is NOT about helping the people any more than it is about being a good samaritan. It's about the 1% and their control of the money supply. WHo needs to control the oil or the internet when you have ALL the money - you control EVERYTHING by default.

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