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    Rebel fighters from the First Battalion under the Free Syrian Army take part in a military training on June 10, 2015, in the rebel-held countryside of the northern city of Aleppo

    US 'Overtures' With Syrian Rebels 'Can Lead to Unforeseen Consequences' - Moscow

    © AFP 2019 / BARAA AL-HALABI
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    Moscow has not been officially informed of the United States government's reported decision to end the CIA program to arm and train Syrian rebels, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, The Washington Post newspaper reported, citing US officials, that US President Donald Trump had made a decision to end the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program to arm and train the moderate Syrian opposition.

    Administration officials have so far refused to either confirm or deny media reports. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow welcomes any step which would contribute to de-escalation in the Middle East, when asked to comment on the news.

    "We have not heard anything from official sources about any decision made in Washington on this account," Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department Artyom Kozhin said as quoted by the ministry website.

    "We also do not know anything about the state of similar programs that could be carried out by other US agencies. US intelligence does not report to us," Kozhin said.

    The United States' engagement with Syrian rebels carries unforeseen military and political consequences, he said.

    "Our position on the US overtures with the Syrian militants has been voiced repeatedly. This can lead to unpredictable military and political consequences."

    He underscored that Moscow had repeatedly pointed to Washington's "indiscrimination over whom they are dealing with in Syria while pursuing their own geopolitical interests."

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    Tags:
    moderate Syrian rebels, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Russia, Syria, United States
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