04:26 GMT +312 December 2019
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    Syrian rebels attend a training session in Maaret Ikhwan, near Idlib, Syria in 2012.

    US Has ‘Obligation’ to Defend Trained Syrian Rebels - Carter

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    The United States has an obligation and different options to defend Pentagon-trained Syrian rebels against a potential attack, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said on Tuesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Carter refused to indicate US policy toward defending non-Pentagon trained Syrian forces, namely Syrians trained under the secretive Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program, which began in 2012.

    "We have indicated that we have an obligation, we have options to protect our people that we have trained against attack," Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    Asked about US defense of the CIA-trained opposition against potential Russian attack, Carter said "that is something we would have to discuss in a closed [hearing]."

    Earlier, top US military officials claimed that President Barack Obama has the authority under the US constitution to defend US-trained fighters. As recently as July, Carter publicly stated he was not sure that defending US-trained Syrians against attacks was legal.

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    Tags:
    moderate Syrian rebels, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Pentagon, Ashton Carter, United States, Syria
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