US military training of militant gangs in Syria 'underway'
We are examining and developing ways to accelerate the political transition that the Syrian people want.” US Secretary of State John KerryThe US has begun military training of anti-Damascus militant gangs at an unidentified regional base in hopes of hastening the fall of the Syrian government and gain influence over the perceived aftermath. The training mission, “already under way,” represents the “deepest” US intervention to date in the internal Syrian crisis and will accompany “for the first time” direct funding and supply of “nonlethal assistance and equipment” to the armed gangs that are evidently engaged in terror and destruction across the nation in a bid to bring down the government of President Bashar al-Assad, a New York Times report says on Thursday.
Citing unnamed “senior administration officials,” the report notes while the size and scope of the training mission and its location are “not clear,” the offer of the direct “nonlethal” aid will officially be announced by US Secretary of State John Kerry at a Rome Conference on Thursday where US-backed anti-Damascus “opposition leaders” and allied governments supporting President Assad’s downfall will be in attendance.Kerry is further expected to pledge potential “direct financial aid” to anti-Assad militants. Speaking in Paris on Wednesday, Kerry boasted that American officials and their allies in Europe and US-backed dictatorships in the Arab world are discussing measures to convince President Assad “that he can’t shoot his way out of this… We are examining and developing ways to accelerate the political transition that the Syrian people want.” Kerry’s claim of representing the desires of “Syrian people” sound strikingly similar to identical proclamations widely made by other senior American officials and lawmakers that waged and supported destructive wars on faraway nations under the pretext of delivering “democratic values.” According to the report, one of the “major goals” of the Obama administration in its expansion of aid to anti-Damascus militants “is to help the [US-backed] opposition build up its credibility within Syria by providing traditional government services to the civilian population… much as Hezbollah has done in Lebanon.” “Another major goal” of the surging US intervention in Syrian affairs, the report notes, is to “jump-start negotiations” over a “political” transition by sending a message to President Assad that militants gangs on the ground “would ultimately prevail.” Other major media reports in the US cite Obama administration officials as saying that Washington has been “under growing political pressure” to expand American role in the Syria situation in response to criticism that in the absence of US arms and military aid to the militant gangs on the ground, it fails to build ties that could prove “valuable” after “the war” ends and the time to “build” Syria comes around. This is while Western officials have clearly acknowledged that the “opposition coalition” is highly unlikely to develop a “governing infrastructure” or attract much support from “fence-sitting Syrian minorities,” according to a Wednesday report by another influential US daily. The report further cited American and European officials as expressing mounting concerns that the armed militants in Syria are “dominated” by al-Qaeda-linked terrorist elements with plenty of emerging evidence documenting their atrocities across the country. Despite such concerns, Kerry vowed in a London press conference on Monday that Washington is “determined” to back the anti-Damascus armed militants in a bid to change the situation in favor of the alleged terrorists. “We are determined that the Syrian opposition is not going to be dangling in the wind wondering where the support is or if it’s coming, and we are determined to change the calculation on the ground for President Assad,” he said, in what was widely described as an unusually undiplomatic rhetoric by the top US diplomat. MFB/MFB