WASHINGTONPOST – July 19, 2017: President Trump has decided to end the CIA’s covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, a move long sought by Russia, according to U.S. officials.
The program was a central plank of a policy begun by the Obama administration in 2013 to put pressure on Assad to step aside, but even its backers have questioned its efficacy since Russia deployed forces in Syria two years later.
Officials said the phasing out of the secret program reflects Trump’s interest in finding ways to work with Russia, which saw the anti-Assad program as an assault on its interests. The shuttering of the program is also an acknowledgment of Washington’s limited leverage and desire to remove Assad from power. Link: Read Complete Article
Russia’s Lavrov Says U.S. Continues Support To Some Opposition Groups In Syria
TASS – July 22, 2017: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday (July 21) he thinks the United States continues to support opposition groups in Syria.
“I understand that the US supports much more groups than just the ones, which were announced as being left without the American weapons,” he said in an interview with NBC News.
The Russian foreign minister disagreed with the host who said the United States’ decision to stop supporting Syrian opposition groups could be seen as a concession to Russia. “This decision was made a few weeks before the meeting of G20 [when the two countries’ leaders had their first personal meeting, which among other things focused on the situation in Syria],” he argued. Link: Read Complete Article