North AmericaSyria

Reports: US, Allies Training Syrian Rebels in Jordan

A1127172 (2)The United States and its allies are training rebels in an effort to bring the fighting in Syria to a close, a British newspaper reported.

Citing sources, The Guardian said Saturday US, French and British troops and intelligence operatives are providing the training in Jordan. The goal is to improve the capabilities of Syrian fighters, a major part of whom are terrorists coming from abroad.

“It’s the Americans, Brits and French with some of the Syrian generals who defected, but we’re not talking about a huge operation,” a Jordanian security source told the newspaper.

The newly trained rebels have not been deployed back to Syria. The plan appears to hinge on conditions in the Southern city of Daraa.

Earlier today, reports also said that Britain has sent a secret £20 million arsenal of weapons to Syrian rebels, including rifles, machine guns and missiles.

The cache – enough to arm 1,000 fighters – is stashed in neighboring countries and could be in rebels’ hands “within hours”, Daily Star Sunday reported.

It includes assault rifles, light machine guns, grenades, anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and ammunition.

The information, from a well-placed Whitehall source, came as Foreign Secretary William Hague said, “We should not rule out any option for saving lives.”

Last week he announced Britain will supply armored vehicles and body armor to Syrian opposition forces.

But the insider said weapons were sent out nearly seven weeks ago as part of a £1million-a-day transport schedule drawn up by Ministry of Defense top brass.

A decision on handing over the arms is expected to be made in the next six weeks.

“A secret arsenal has been set up,” said the source. “If the European Union arms embargo is lifted, the cache will be opened and the weapons shipped out”.

The insider said some British weapons are already with Syrian rebels after going in via Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both of which have made “big” purchases.

Also, a ranking member of the US marine troops deployed in Afghanistan told FNA on Saturday that the Pentagon made the decision to send a major part of its light and semi-heavy weapons systems and military equipment to the Syrian rebels along with its pullout from Afghanistan when the former US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, was still in office.

“The decision to send our arms and weapons systems in Afghanistan to the rebel groups in Syria was originally made when the former US Secretary of Defense was in his final days of office, yet the Pentagon has also received the approval of the new Secretary, Chuck Hagel, as well,” said the source who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of his information.

“One of these cargos consists of the light and semi-heavy military tools, equipment and weapons that the US army has gathered and piled up in Kandahar Base and plans to send them to the rebels in Syria in the form of several air and sea cargos and through Turkey and specially Jordan,” he explained.

“These weapons and arms systems include anti-armor and missile systems, rocket-launchers and rockets and tens of armored Humvees,” the source added, explaining that senior war strategists in the Pentagon believe that they can change the scene of the war in Syria in the interest of the rebel groups with the help of these cargos, specially the shoulder-launched missile systems and the multipurpose Humvee vehicles.

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