US President Barack Obama. — File Photo

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing US support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, US sources familiar with the matter said.

Obama's order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence “finding,” broadly permits the CIA and other US agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.

This and other developments signal a shift toward growing, albeit still circumscribed, support for Assad's armed opponents - a shift that intensified following last month's failure of the UN Security Council to agree on tougher sanctions against the Damascus government.

The White House is for now apparently stopping short of giving the rebels lethal weapons, even as some U.S. allies do just that.

But US and European officials have said that there have been noticeable improvements in the coherence and effectiveness of Syrian rebel groups in the past few weeks.

That represents a significant change in assessments of the rebels by Western officials, who previously characterized Assad's opponents as a disorganized, almost chaotic, rabble.

Precisely when Obama signed the secret intelligence authorization, an action not previously reported, could not be determined. The full extent of clandestine support that agencies like the CIA might be providing also is unclear.

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Comments (11)

Jamshed Khan
August 2, 2012 2:41 pm
Is that not state sponsored terrorism?
Cyrus Howell
August 2, 2012 3:00 pm
Should the Syrian people die because they stood up to oppression? Don't you believe they should be rescued? What difference does religion make? Saudi Arabia cannot send their army. They have no army. When women and children are being killed by Muslims - that is permitted. They just cannot be killed by infidels. Bashar Al- Assad is married to whom? A Muslim? Not on your life. She probably prays to Jesus after the lights go out.
ahmed rizwan
August 2, 2012 2:58 pm
The reality of USA is clear to whole world. They are destroying Muslim countries be the strategy of making chaos within the country and among its people. then provide them destructive weapons. And this support of creating insurgency is not a terrorist act simply because America is doing it, on the other hand they are accusing Iran and Pakistan for providing assistant to the Talibans and Al Qaeda which is creating insurgency in Afghanistan. But the scenario is same that is it's promoting killing of Humans.
Cyrus Howell
August 2, 2012 1:37 pm
HOLY SMOKE. The secret is out.
August 2, 2012 3:57 pm
Like we did nt know this...
August 2, 2012 3:22 pm
If it's secret, why am I reading about it? Yay! Now another country can go from bad to worse with the help of America and my tax money. The defense contracting companies must be rubbing their hands with glee right about now.
August 2, 2012 2:09 pm
isnt this terrorism????
August 2, 2012 1:34 pm
A good political move I'd say. . . . . . but what's the point of having the poor UN if no one gives a **** about what it says ?
August 2, 2012 6:04 pm
Is this not terrorism meddling in other countries affairs.
August 2, 2012 8:07 pm
After Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Egypt, another democracy in making ??
August 5, 2012 5:22 am
So much for "secret support"!!! Never mind, I promise not to tell anyone. :-)
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