Tags: covert | cia | syria | program | ended

Covert CIA Syria Program Started by Obama Ended by Trump

Image: Covert CIA Syria Program Started by Obama Ended by Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster), Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (Wikimedia Commons), Russian President Vladimir Putin (AP Photo)

By    |   Thursday, 20 Jul 2017 08:15 AM

A covert CIA program in Syria meant to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad will be ended by President Donald Trump, a win for Russian officials who sought the change.

Former President Barack Obama started the program in support of his 2013 policy to force the Syrian president to leave, reported The Washington Post.

Officials told the Post that Trump came to the decision to end the CIA program nearly a month ago, after an Oval Office meeting with CIA director Mike Pompeo and national security adviser H.R. McMaster.

The Post noted that meeting came ahead of a July 7 sitdown with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 in Germany. Russia has strongly supported al-Assad during the civil war in Syria.

After Trump and Putin met, a limited ceasefire in southwest Syria began, but U.S. officials told CNN that dumping the CIA program assisting rebels was not a condition for the ceasefire.

"People began thinking about ending the program, but it was not something you'd do for free," a former White House official told the Post. "To give [the program] away without getting anything in return would be foolish."

One official told Reuters that given al-Assad's current position, the United States was not making a major concession, "but it's a signal to Putin that the administration wants to improve ties to Russia."

Trump told the Wall Street Journal last November after the election that he didn’t think it would be helpful to fight Syria because it was also engaged in fighting the Islamic State, like the United States.

"I've had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria," Trump told the Journal. "My attitude was you're fighting Syria, Syria is fighting ISIS, and you have to get rid of ISIS. Russia is now totally aligned with Syria, and now you have Iran, which is becoming powerful, because of us, is aligned with Syria. Now we're backing rebels against Syria, and we have no idea who these people are."

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A covert CIA program in Syria meant to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad will be ended by President Donald Trump, a win for Russian officials who sought the change.
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2017-15-20
Thursday, 20 Jul 2017 08:15 AM
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