Report: CIA aids in funneling arms to Syrian rebels
According to The New York Times, the CIA is helping to vet Syrian rebel groups for arms shipments paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
• A daily summary of global reports on security issues. (Editor's note: The original headline on this story has been changed to more accurately reflect the CIA's role.)Skip to next paragraph
Middle East Editor
Ariel Zirulnick is the Monitor's Middle East editor, overseeing regional coverage both for CSMonitor.com and the weekly magazine. She is also a contributor to the international desk's terrorism and security blog.
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The Syrian conflict is becoming more intractable as rebels, bolstered by weapons from Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, are turning into a more effective adversary against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
According to a report today by The New York Times, the CIA is helping to funnel the arms to rebel groups, vetting potential recipients to avoid arming Al Qaeda-affiliated groups. The weapons include automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition, and some antitank weapons, according to the report, which cited unnamed American officials and Arab intelligence officials.
Nearly 100 people were killed across Syria yesterday alone – 35 of them Syrian Army soldiers, showing that rebel forces are becoming a fighting force to rival the actual military, according to data from the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights cited by Agence France-Presse.
The Army has staged an assault on Qusayr, a town outside Homs, after being dealt losses by rebel fighters. Heavy fighting also erupted in Arman Az in Idlib Province after rebels attacked Army barracks. The town of Inkhel in Deraa Province was also shelled.
The International Committee of the Red Cross and its partner Syria Red Crescent are on standby outside Homs today, waiting for a temporary truce so that they can evacuate the wounded from the beleaguered city.