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Trump ends covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad 'rebels' in Syria

Trump ends covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad 'rebels' in Syria | 19 July 2017 | President Trump has decided to end the CIA's covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels terrorists battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, a move long sought by Russia, according to U.S. officials. The program was a central plank of a [disastrous] policy begun by the Obama administration in 2013 to put pressure on Assad to step aside, but even its backers have questioned its efficacy since Russia deployed forces in Syria two years later. Officials said the phasing out of the secret program reflects Trump's interest in finding ways to work with Russia, which saw the anti-Assad program as an assault on its interests. The shuttering of the program is also an acknowledgment of Washington's limited leverage and desire to remove Assad from power.