23:50 GMT03 August 2020
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    The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is said to have put on hold its assistance program for the Free Syrian Army. Retired CIA intelligence officer and State Department official Larry Johnson told Radio Sputnik that the move could be linked to the fact that this umbrella organization has not been an efficient military force.

    "I think what we are really seeing is the recognition of how inept these opposition forces have been," he said.

    Johnson referred to the FSA as a virtually "non-existent organization," saying that it has never really been "an effective military force in the battlefield" and has largely served as "a propaganda tool" to justify the agenda the United States and its allies pursued in Syria.

    "Hardly any fight has been carried out by them," he added, referring to the FSA.

    These comments came in response to reports that the CIA decided to withhold military assistance, including training and ammunition, after al-Nusra Front fighters attacked rebels affiliated with the FSA, prompting them to join forces with Ahrar al-Sham. Russia, Syria, Iran, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates consider Ahrar al-Sham to be a terrorist organization.

    Johnson said that the CIA was supposed to be providing support to "non-sectarian forces."

    "But the reality has been for over four years the forces actually doing the fighting against the government of Bashar al-Assad and his army have been radical Islamists. So the United States in a de facto manner has actually been supplying weapons and training to individuals that are at a minimum aligned with radical Islam if not fighting alongside or being members of radical Islamic groups," he said.

    Johnson further described Washington's policy in Syria as "chaotic."

    "The United States has really been pursuing a fool's mission" in the war-torn Arab country, he said. "We ended up supporting terrorists."

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    Syrian crisis, military assistance, Syrian conflict, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Free Syrian Army (FSA), Syria, United States
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