CIA Increases Help to Syrian Insurgents

Agency providing intelligence to certain rebel groups
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2013 11:46 AM CDT
CIA Increases Help to Syrian Insurgents
Syrian insurgents fire at Syrian army soldiers during a firefight in Daraa al-Balad, Syria, on March 18.   (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video)

The US military might not have plans to intervene in Syria anytime soon, but the CIA is a different story. The agency has actually increased its aid to insurgents of late, mostly in the form of passing along intelligence about the Syrian army, reports the Wall Street Journal. The move illustrates the tricky balance the White House is trying to maintain—the CIA is helping only "secular forces," not those aligned with al-Qaeda, as it tries to influence who would take control if Bashar al-Assad falls.

It's also being picky about what it passes along. The insurgents are getting no information, for example, about where Assad keeps his chemical weapons. Al-Qaeda, meanwhile, is ramping up its own role in the fight. Intelligence officials tell the Journal that the group's biggest ally in Syria, an organization called the Nusra Front, is now working more closely with the leaders of al-Qaeda itself in Pakistan. (More CIA stories.)

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