agence france-presse
WASHINGTON/Beirut, 22 JUNE: The CIA and USA special operations forces have been training Syrian rebels for months, since long before President Barack Obama announced plans to arm the opposition, the Los Angeles Times has reported.
Training for rebel forces covers the use of anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons and has been carried out at bases in Jordan and Turkey since late last year, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed US officials and rebel commanders.
The two-week courses, for about 20 to 45 fighters at a time, began last November at a new US base in the desert in south-west Jordan, it said yesterday.
The report came days after the Obama administration announced it had approved the arming of Syrian rebels, though analysts said the USA likely would avoid providing sophisticated guided anti-tank or anti-aircraft weapons.
The Central Intelligence Agency typically leads covert training and arming of fighters in foreign conflicts, while military special operations forces can be assigned to covert missions overseen by the spy agency.
The CIA and the White House declined to comment on the report.

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