• All Share : 53921
    UP 0.37%
    Top40 - (Tradeable) : 47835.75
    UP 0.23%
    Financial 15 : 15404.5
    UP 0.29%
    Industrial 25 : 73003.78
    UP 0.19%
    Resource 10 : 31952.76
    UP 0.74%

  • ZAR/USD : 15.7283
    UP 1.37%
    ZAR/GBP : 22.853
    UP 0.58%
    ZAR/EUR : 17.4003
    UP 0.21%
    ZAR/JPY : 0.1415
    UP 0.43%
    ZAR/AUD : 11.2486
    UP 0.45%

  • Gold US$/oz : 1212.8
    DOWN -0.55%
    Platinum US$/oz : 976
    DOWN -1.51%
    Silver US$/oz : 16.2
    DOWN -0.55%
    Palladium US$/oz : 536
    DOWN -1.11%
    Brent Crude : 49.48
    UP 0.04%

  • All data is delayed by 15 min. Data supplied by Profile Data
    Hover cursor over this ticker to pause.

Sat May 28 04:06:36 SAST 2016

CIA-trained unit in Syria

© The Daily Telegraph, Reuters | 04 September, 2013 00:56
A Free Syrian Army fighter

The first cell of Syrian rebels trained and armed by the CIA is making its way to the battlefield, US President Barack Obama has reportedly told senators.

During a meeting at the White House, the president assured Senator John McCain that, after months of delays, the US was meeting its commitment to back the opposition.

Obama, according to the New York Times, said that a 50-man cell, believed to have been trained by US special forces in Jordan, was making its way across the border into Syria.

The deployment of the rebel unit seems to be the first tangible measure of support since Obama announced in June that the US would begin providing the opposition with small arms.

Congressional opposition delayed the plan for weeks and rebel commanders complained that the US was doing nothing to match the Russian-made firepower of the Assad regime.

McCain has been a chief critic of the White House's reluctance to become involved in Syria and has long demanded that Obama provide the rebels with arms with which to overthrow the regime.

He and Senator Lindsey Graham, a fellow Republican and foreign policy hawk, emerged from the Oval Office on Monday cautiously optimistic that Obama would step up support for the rebels.

"There seems to be emerging from this administration a pretty solid plan to upgrade the opposition," Graham said.

He added that he hoped the opposition would be given "a chance to speak direct to the American people" to counter US fears that they were dominated by al-Qaeda sympathisers.

"They're not trying to replace one dictator, Assad, who has been brutal ... only to have al-Qaeda run Syria," Graham said.

The US announced in June, following the first allegations that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons, that it would send light arms to the rebels but refused to provide anti-aircraft missiles.

Its concerns were born partly out of the experience of Afghanistan in the 1980s, when CIA weapons given to the anti-Russian mujahideen were later used by the Taliban .


If you have an opinion you would like to share on this article, please send us an e-mail to the Times LIVE iLIVE team. In the mean time, click here to view the Times LIVE iLIVE section.