Syrian opposition fighters 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Attempting to circumvent al-Qaida’s increased influence in a potential
post-President Bashar Assad Syria, the CIA has begun to trickle intelligence to
selected rebel fighters, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing US
At the moment only limited information is being passed along,
as it is still unclear which rebel groups can be trusted, officials
US, European and Arab officials said the move is based on the
United States’ and Israel’s preference for dealing with secular groups, hoping
they will be more cooperative when rebuilding Syria’s leadership structure if
They said a similar motivation behind the move could be US
counter-terrorism reports that al-Nusra Front, a terrorist group operating in
Syria, is possibly strengthening its connections to al-Qaida leadership based in
The US’s wealth of information comes from a variety of sources,
including use of satellites and working closely with Israeli and Jordanian spy
agencies, both of which have extensive networks in place in Syria.
there has been a rise in CIA involvement in the Syrian civil war, there are no
plans to be directly involved in the military actions as reiterated by US
President Barack Obama on Friday.
Beyond the sharing of information, the
CIA has been working with Jordanian, French and British intelligence services to
provide several types of weapons training.
There has been rising pressure
on Obama from forces within his government calling for an increase in US
involvement, as Michigan Democratic Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman
Carl Levin sent a letter to the president urging him to take “more active steps
to stop the killing in Syria and force Bashar Assad to give up power.”
al-Nusra’s influence grows, so much so that one specialist termed it “an
organization that resembles an army,” Israeli officials have become more
concerned with the situation unfolding in Syria.
The Journal quoted a
highly placed Israeli official who said, “Israel would welcome America’s
influence in shaping the post-Assad Syria.”