DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:30 P.M.) – Over six years after the Syrian revolt first began, the US administration has finally decided to indefinitely give up on its long-standing support for supposedly moderate rebel groups in the war-torn country.
According to US officials, Donald Trump has decided to end the CIA’s covert program to arm and train insurgents opposed to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). This arming program was put into effect by the Obama administration in 2013 and looked to topple Bashar Al-Assad.
After talks with Russia, the White House will now phase out the secret program, a move which is likely to have grave implications for US-vetted Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions based in southern Syria around the Al-Tanf border crossing.
Although the CIA declined to comment, US officials told the Washington Post that Trump decided to scrap the CIA program nearly a month ago ahead of a meeting on July 7 with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “This is a momentous decision … Putin won in Syria,” said a current official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a covert program.
“It’s probably a nod to reality,” said Ilan Goldenberg, a former Obama administration official and director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.
Once this sudden change of policy is fully implemented, Al-Masdar News expects the US Army will evacuate its troops from the Al-Tanf military base and fly them to Kurdish-held territory in Hasakah, thereby leaving rebel forces in southern Syria to fend for themselves against the SAA.
The plan does not involve the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led fighting force in northern Syria which has had its supply of heavy weapons and armored vehicles increased in recent months.