Report: U.S. to end covert support for Syrian rebels
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 7/20/17, 10:58 am
President Donald Trump has decided to close the CIA program to arm and train rebels who oppose Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to U.S. officials cited in numerous news reports. President Barack Obama started the program, but it has been ineffective and threatens the closer relationship with Russia that Trump hopes to build. Russia is the largest backer of Assad’s government, which has withstood six years of civil war and the rise of Islamic State (ISIS). The Washington Post, which first reported on the policy shift Wednesday, said Trump made the decision before his July 7 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, and the move was not a concession in negotiations with Russia. Trump has shown more willingness than Obama to accept Assad’s rule in Syria, but not without conditions. After the Syrian military attacked a city with chemical weapons three months ago, Trump ordered a missile strike on a Syrian air base.
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