Pentagon, Not CIA, To Arm Syrian Rebels

  • Our Bureau
  • 02:12 PM, September 5, 2013
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Pentagon, Not CIA, To Arm Syrian Rebels
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The first cell of 50 Rebels trained by CIA in Jordan are sneaking into the warzone to strike back at the Assad regime, U.S. President Barack Obama was quoted by The Independent.

But with various allegations arising on both the sides over the civil war in Syria, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) may be asked to step down from arming the Rebels since the Pentagon is weighing future support for Syrian Rebels.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Pentagon may take charge of arming the rebels, after paying heed to the complaints that the weapons to the rebels is yet to arrive, putting the opposition at the weaker side against the Syrian Army.

The Republican Senator John McCain had said it was “shameful” that the US had previously – three months ago – promised arms for the opposition, only to fail to deliver, the report said.

"The decision is still under consideration," a US official was quoted as saying by AFP. "If and how (it would be done) are both questions being discussed".

Under the CIA, support for the rebels is deemed covert and details of the assistance remain secret. While under Pentagon, the cost and scope of the aid would no longer be classified.

If the Pentagon led the arms and training program, special-operations teams would move faster to support moderate rebels, boasting a history of training both commando units and conventional forces, the report added.

But the suspected chemical weapons attack two weeks ago that allegedly killed hundreds has led the administration to consider expanding the scope of its support with more weapons and training, possibly with the help of US special forces.

From the start, the administration has been cautious in its approach to the rebels, citing concerns about Islamist extremists in the ranks with links to Al-Qaeda.

But seeing the delays in delivering weapons by the CIA, the U.S. administration is considering extending options for arming rebels better.

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