Members of an armed gang in Syria (file photo)
Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:13AM GMT
The CIA agents in southern Turkey are secretly helping the armed groups fighting against the Damascus government in Syria, a report says.
According to a New York Times report published on Thursday, some US and Arab intelligence officials say a group of “CIA officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey” and that the agents are helping the anti-Syria governments decide which gangs inside the Arab country will “receive arms to fight the Syrian government.”
“CIA officers are there and they are trying to make new sources and recruit people,” said one of the Arab officials, whose name was not mentioned in the report.
The arms include automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and antitank weapons, which are being transported “mostly across the Turkish border,” the report said.
Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar pay for the transport of the weaponry into Syria, according to the US and Arab intelligence officials cited in the report.
The CIA spies have been in southern Turkey for the past several weeks and Washington is also considering providing the armed gangs with “satellite imagery and other detailed intelligence on Syrian troop locations and movements,” the report adds.
The Thursday New York Times report comes two days after the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the government was trying to evacuate civilians from the western city of Homs.
“Contacts have been made with the leadership of the international monitors, in cooperation with the local Syrian authorities in the city of Homs, to bring out these Syrian citizens,” said the statement issued on June 19.
“But the efforts of the monitors were unsuccessful… because the armed terrorist groups obstructed their efforts.”
Meanwhile, the Syrian ambassador to the UN, Bashar Ja’afari, told reporters in New York on June 19 that armed groups in Syria were violating the peace plan brokered by the UN-Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan, and that the “only way to push forward is to guarantee the success of the six-point plan.”
In addition, the head of the UN observer mission in Syria, Major General Robert Mood, said in a briefing to the UN Security Council on June 19 that the UN monitors were “morally obliged” to stay in Syria despite a recent decision to suspend the activities of the team.
On June 16, Mood said the UN monitoring team was “suspending its activities” in Syria due to an “intensification of armed violence.”
Over the past weeks, the anti-Syria Western governments have been calling for the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
However, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on June 20, “No one is entitled to decide for other nations who should be in power and who should not.”
“A change of power, if it occurs -- and it could only occur by constitutional means -- should result in peace and stop the bloodshed,” the Russian president said.
He made the remarks in a press conference in Los Cabos, Mexico, after the G20 summit.