Is Syria Becoming a Proxy War Between U.S. and Russia?
Russian state-owned firms are supplying regime with weapons. The CIA is reportedly helping vet recipients of foreign-provided arms for opposition forces. But this isn’t the Cold War. It’s present day Syria.
Reports surfaced Thursday that a small number of CIA officers have been deployed to southern Turkey to assist U.S. allies with the tough task of deciding which Syrian rebel elements should receive weapons in their fight against Syrian President Bashir al-Assad’s loyalist military.
Moscow, a longtime Syrian ally, has provided the country with heavy combat weapons for years. It remains unclear whether Russian officials will bend to Western pressure and cease those shipments as the year-old battle that has killed around 14,000 people wages on.
A CIA spokesman declined to directly address allegations that agency personnel are helping to vet rebel factions in order to ensure weapons do not fall into al Qaeda hands. The spokesman did not deny such an effort is underway, but said the original report contained inaccuracies. A Syrian opposition source reached Thursday says “there is no U.S. involvement at this moment.”