President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for Syrian rebels seeking to depose President Bashar al-Assad, Reuters reports.
Precisely when Obama signed the authorization is unsure, but sources say earlier this year the American president approved an order to allow CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support to Syrian rebels. The order did not go so far as to approve giving lethal weapons to the rebels, but Western officials say the order marks a significant change in the White House’s policy towards Assad’s opponents.
U.S officials have previously characterized Assad’s Syrian rebel as disorganized, but U.S and European officials now say the movement has noticeably improved in the past weeks and are now more coherent and effective.
The nature and extent of the CIA’s support is unclear, but American intelligence is said to be collaborating with a secret command center operated by Turkey and its allies at the Syrian boarder.