We're Finally Sending Weapons to Syrian Rebels

CIA shipments have been entering country over last 2 weeks, rebels deny
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2013 10:07 PM CDT
Updated Sep 12, 2013 7:30 AM CDT
We're Finally Sending Weapons to Syrian Rebels
In this Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 file photo, Free Syrian Army fighters clean their weapons and check ammunition at their base on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria.   (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra, File)

In mid-June, the US said it would send weapons to the Syrian rebels; after many weeks of delay (much to the recent consternation of Sen. Bob Corker and other lawmakers), we've apparently made good on the promise, at least according to US officials and "Syrian figures" who spoke to the Washington Post. The paper reports that weapons began arriving in the country roughly two weeks ago; they're being sent by the CIA, while the State Department is providing things like vehicles and high-tech communications devices. CNN similarly spoke with an unnamed US official who confirmed the delivery, but it reports that the Syrian National Coalition and the Free Syrian Army say they have gotten no such lethal aid thus far.

And while the Post's report says that aid is being directed toward the rebels fighting under Free Syrian Army Commander Gen. Salim Idriss, NPR's Steve Inskeep talked to Idriss this morning; he, too, says "no lethal materials" have arrived as of today. But the Post maintains that "light weaponry" is being sent, and spoke to an opposition official who seems to confirm this, describing the weapons they're receiving—which do not include the antitank and antiaircraft weapons that the rebels really want—as "better than nothing." The Post reports that the CIA's shipments are being routed through recently built "clandestine bases" in Turkey and Jordan. (More CIA stories.)

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