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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US bolsters ties to fighters in Syria: Wall Street Journal

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New York, June 14, IRNA -- U.S. intelligence operatives and diplomats have stepped up their contacts with Syrian rebels in part to help organize their burgeoning military operations against President Bashar al-Assad's forces, The Wall Street Journal said on Thursday.

“As part of the efforts, the Central Intelligence Agency and State Department —working with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and other allies—are helping the opposition Free Syrian Army develop logistical routes for moving supplies into Syria and providing communications training.

"The U.S. in many ways is acting in Syria through proxies, primarily Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, say U.S. and Arab officials. Saudi Arabia is particularly fixated on overthrowing Mr. Assad, said Arab officials, viewing it as a way to settle scores with an arch foe and weaken its chief regional rival Iran.

"Saudi Arabia and Qatar are providing the funds for arms, Arab officials and Syrian opposition leaders say.

"The U.S.'s stepped-up links with the FSA are also part of an effort to gain a better understanding of the rebels' capabilities and of the identities and allegiances of fighters spread in disparate groups across the country, the U.S. officials said. The U.S. officials remain wary of some rebels' suspected ties to hard-line Islamists, including elements of al Qaeda. They acknowledge the FSA doesn't represent all parts of the insurgency against the Assad regime," according to The Wall Street Journal.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 1020927

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