01:15 GMT +322 October 2019
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    Opposition fighters walk in the al-Breij area northwest on the northern Syrian city of Aleppo

    US Decision to Stop Arming Syrian Opposition May Spark Russia Dialogue

    © AFP 2019 / Fadi al-Halabi
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    US President Donald Trump's reported decision to end the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) program of arming and training Syrian moderate opposition creates an opportunity for dialogue between Russia and the United States on the common fight against terrorism in Syria, a senior Russian lawmaker said Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, The Washington Post, citing US officials, said that Trump had reportedly made the decision to halt the CIA support program for Syrian moderate opposition. The intelligence agency, however, has refused to comment on the reports.

    "Such a turn of events, without any doubt, creates further opportunities for the Russian-US cooperation in the field of fighting terror in Syria," Kosachev, the chairman of foreign affairs committee of the Russian upper house of parliament, stated.

    The administration under then-President Barack Obama launched the CIA-run program in 2013. Initially, an estimated total of 5,000 opposition soldiers would be trained per year in countries neighboring Syria, including Jordan, Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Only those soldiers who verified their identities and passed initial tests were then trained by US Department of Defense troops and sent back to Syria.

    As of July of this year, the US-led coalition has trained over 8,500 Syrian opposition soldiers and provided over 40,000 troops with personal equipment.


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