Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With CIA Aid: NY Times Report
By Press TV
With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have
sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition
fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms
and equipment for the fighting against President Bashar
al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with
officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel
The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and
continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a
steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It
has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by
Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing
at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at
other Turkish and Jordanian airports.
As it evolved, the airlift correlated with shifts in the war
within Syria, as rebels drove Syria’s army from territory by the
middle of last year. And even as the Obama administration has
publicly refused to give more than “nonlethal” aid to the
rebels, the involvement of the C.I.A. in the arms shipments -
albeit mostly in a consultative role, American officials say -
has shown that the United States is more willing to help its
Arab allies support the lethal side of the Syrian unrest.
From offices at secret locations, American intelligence officers
have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a
large procurement from Croatia, and have vetted rebel commanders
and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they
arrive, according to American officials speaking on the
condition of anonymity. The C.I.A. declined to comment on the
shipments or its role in them.
American officials have confirmed that senior White House
officials were regularly briefed on the military shipments. NY
A former American official noted that the size of the shipments
and the degree of distributions are voluminous. “People hear the
amounts flowing in, and it is huge,” he said. NY Times
Russia has warned the United States that the conflict in Syria
will escalate if the U.S. provides arms to militants and
continues to push for the overthrow of the Damascus government.
Despite the resignation of the leader of the Western-backed
Syrian opposition coalition on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State
John Kerry says that it won't affect the U.S. effort to try to
force Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, according to
the Associated Press.
However, there is also growing consensus among the U.S. and its
allies that little can be done to put new pressure on the Syrian
president to go, AP reports.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011, and many
people, including large numbers of security forces, have been
The Syrian government has long said that the chaos is being
orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports
that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
See also -
CIA aids huge arms smuggling to Syria –
report:" . At least 3,500
tons of have been delivered - some ending up on the black
market, with the Turkish government an active player, a media
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