CIA to arm Syria militants within weeks

CIA to arm Syria militants within weeks
Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:15:03

CIA could begin shipping arms to insurgents in Syria in the coming weeks after clearance from the Congress intelligence committees, a report says.

Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Tuesday that the panel had agreed to support the plan to arm the foreing-backed militants, The Guardian newspaper reported.

However, the committee made clear it has only agreed reluctantly and retained serious anxieties about whether President Barack Obama's new policy would work.

"The House intelligence committee has very strong concerns about the strength of the administration's plans in Syria and its chances for success," he said in a statement.

"After much discussion and review, we got a consensus that we could move forward with what the administration's plans and intentions are in Syria consistent with committee reservations."

The White House announced in June that it would provide limited military support for the militants.

The move was strongly rejected by Russia and some European countries over concerns that the war in Syria is actually led by numerous terrorist groups that have infiltrated the country to fight against the Syrian government with the support of their foreign allies.

The Senate Intelligence Committee also decided earlier this month that it would support the arming plan, on the condition they received updates on the covert program.

Both committees have been meeting behind closed doors to discuss Obama's desire to transfer weapons and ammunition to the insurgents, as well as to supply some training.

The timeline for the weapons transfer is unclear, but reports suggest the process could take place over the next several weeks.

The insurgents in Syria, leading a bloody war that has taken thousands of lives, have said publicly they hope they will begin receiving the deliveries in August.

US secretary of state John Kerry and other senior officials in the administration have been lobbying hard behind the scenes to persuade the Congress to back the new policy.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey warned senators on Monday that taking military action in Syria was likely to escalate quickly and result in "unintended consequences".

Alluding to the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, General Dempsey said that once the US became embroiled militarily in the Syria conflict, "deeper involvement is hard to avoid."


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