United States President Donald Trump has decided to put an end to the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) covert programme to equip and train certain ‘rebel’ groups fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, two officials serving in the administration have said. The Washington Post was first to report the programme's suspension on Wednesday.
The plan to train and equip rebels was started in 2013 under the administration of Barack Obama as part of his effort to oust the Syrian leader who was close to Russia. While most of the heavy weapons and cash was reportedly provided by Saudi Arabia, the CIA took the lead in the training and maintaining supplies.
According to reports, Trump made the decision on the advice of National Security Adviser H R McMaster and CIA director Mike Pompeo before his 7 July meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Germany.
The CIA-trained ‘rebel’ groups have often been accused of committing grave human rights violations and propagating extremist ideology.
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