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Turkey needs new Syria plan as CIA ends rebel support

The US decision to pull the plug from the CIA’s training and equipment program for the Syrian opposition will affect Turkey’s plans for Idlib in northern Syria.
Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo arrives for a closed briefing before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S. May 16, 2017.  REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - RTX364MJ
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US President Donald Trump’s recent decision to terminate a covert CIA program to train and equip Syrian opposition militants is generating multiple potential scenarios of the beginning of the end for Ankara’s plans in northern Syria, which included expanding the area Turkey controls as far as Idlib.

Though the United States had been paying more attention to the southern Syria front and to US relations with Kurdish allies, CIA-run operations with allied intelligence services from their Turkish base were also important in many respects. That program gave the CIA a strong voice in training and equipping selected opposition fighters and also in distributing weapons and equipment procured with money from Gulf states.

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