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INTERNATIONAL > CIA helping arms shipments to Syria rebels through Turkey: Report

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse

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A Syrian youth stands next to a rebel waving a pre-Baath Syrian flag currently used by the opposition during an anti-regime protest in the northern city of Aleppo on March 22, 2013. The UN lamented the escalating violence in Syria and extended a probe into widespread human rights violations in the war-torn country. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC

A Syrian youth stands next to a rebel waving a pre-Baath Syrian flag currently used by the opposition during an anti-regime protest in the northern city of Aleppo on March 22, 2013. The UN lamented the escalating violence in Syria and extended a probe into widespread human rights violations in the war-torn country. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC

Arab nations and Turkey, helped by the CIA, have dramatically increased military aid to Syrian rebels in recent months, The New York Times reported Monday.

The US Central Intelligence Agency was helping their efforts, the newspaper added, citing air traffic data and interviews with unnamed officials and the rebel commanders.

The airlift has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and at other Turkish and Jordanian airports, the report said.

US intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, it said. They had also vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive.

Turkey had overseen much of the program, fixing transponders to trucks ferrying the military goods through Turkey so it could monitor shipments, the paper added.

"A conservative estimate of the payload of these flights would be 3,500 tons of military equipment," Hugh Griffiths, of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), told the paper.

"The intensity and frequency of these flights," were "suggestive of a well-planned and coordinated clandestine military logistics operation", he added.

The armed uprising against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sprang up in response to the Damascus regime's crackdown two years ago on opposition protests.

March/25/2013

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Eric Martin

3/26/2013 12:00:40 AM

I am still angry that the Syrian rebels couldn't fly any captured jets. Those are great weapons. I am glad Turkey and foreign nations are giving the rebels real weapons to quicken the end for Assad.

Tekion Particle

3/25/2013 7:54:11 PM

I am all in favour of helping the free Syrian army. Assad have fighter planes helicopters and heavy artillery as well as medium range missiles. The free Syrian army has pebbles to trow at them. It is about timer the field is evened out for a fair fight. Sooner the El Assad toppled the better it is for the innocent people caught in the middle.

mara mcglothin

3/25/2013 2:02:34 PM

No one should be doing anything of this nature!!! Even with the influx of guns the future of Syria should be up to the Syrians and we all need to butt out!

The Prisoner

3/25/2013 1:26:13 PM

Surely this illegal? I was under the impression that no-one was supposed to be giving anything but humanitarian aid to the terrorists or indeed the legitimate government.

Roberto L Tanizaki

3/25/2013 12:56:22 PM

It's about time. My god, more than 80,000 Syrians have died in this war. There has to be a total regime change. Bashar al-Assad must step down and seek refuge in Saudi Arabia, or face justice in an international court.
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