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U.S. Bolsters Ties to Fighters in Syria

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JAY SOLOMON And NOUR MALAS
Wall St Journal
June 14, 2012

WASHINGTON—U.S. intelligence operatives and diplomats have stepped up their contacts with Syrian rebels in part to help organize their burgeoning military operations against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, according to senior U.S. officials.

As part of the efforts, the Central Intelligence Agency and State Department—working with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and other allies—are helping the opposition Free Syrian Army develop logistical routes for moving supplies into Syria and providing communications training.

U.S. officials also are considering sharing intelligence with the Free Syrian Army, or FSA, to allow the rebels to evade pro-Assad forces, which are believed to be getting intelligence, arms and communications support from Russia and Iran, the officials said. Iran it denies it is involved in Syria; Russia says the arms it sells Syria aren’t used in the crackdown.

Details of the deepening U.S. involvement comes as many international and local observers say Syria’s deadly 15-month conflict has reached new lows. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that “the situation is spiraling toward civil war.”

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This article was posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 at 9:22 am





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