human rights watch

tisdag 19 mars 2013

CIA Collecting Intel on Syrian Rebels

CIA Collecting Intel on Syrian Rebels

by Mahmoud Abu Ghosh
Concerned with the deteriorating situation in war-torn Syria, the United States has begun to collect intelligence on Muslim elements that joined rebel forces fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, for possible targeted drone strikes in the near future, the LA Times quoted US officials as saying on Friday.
The US officials claim al-Qaeda operatives and fighters in Iraq moved to Syria to join anti-Assad rebels.

According to the LA Times, the intelligence assembled will provide the White House with both lethal and non-lethal options if it concludes the Syrian conflict is creating a haven for elements hostile to American interests in the region.
The intelligence could potentially also be used to help bring key figures in the post-Assad Syrian regime under US control.
The officials clarified, however, that President Barack Obama has not authorized drone missile strikes in Syria and that currently none are under consideration.
The Central Intelligence Agency’s counterterrorism center recently shifted several targeting officers from collecting intelligence for drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen to Syria, in order to improve intelligence collection on militants that could pose a threat to Western interests.
The targeting officers have not, however, been deployed to the war zone, and will conduct their intelligence work from the CIA headquarters in Langley, VA.
The CIA and the White House refused to comment on the targeting effort, the LA Times said.
The two-year civil war in Syria has already caused an estimated 70,000 deaths so far, according to statistics put out by the United Nations.
Indy News Israel reported last week that the US has been training members of the anti-Assad Free Syrian Army in Jordan, while being cautious to exclude religious Muslims from the training.

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