President Barack Obama has contracted a secret order authorising United States back up for rebels looking for deposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, United States sources familiar with the matter told.
Obama’s order, authorised earlier this year and called as an intelligence “finding,” generally permits the CIA and other USA authorities to supply back up that could assist the rebels oust Assad.
This and other developments signal a shift toward growing, albeit still confined, support for Assad’s armed opponents – a shift that intensified coming after last month’s failure of the United Nations Security Council to agree on harder sanctions against the Damascus government.
The White House is for now evidently ceasing short of affording the rebels lethal weapons, even as some USA friends do just that.
But US and European officials have told that there have been observable advances in the coherency and effectivity of Syrian rebel groups in the past few weeks. That represents a important change in appraisals of the rebels by Western officials, who previously characterised Assad’s adversaries as a disorganised, almost disorderly, rabble.
Accurately when Obama signed the secret intelligence authorisation, an action not previously reported, could not be ascertained.
The full extent of clandestine support that agencies like the CIA may be supplying also is unclear.