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Obama’s Syria Policy In Disarray, is Counterterrorism Next?

Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Senior Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy
December 13, 2013
Defense One


The United States and Britain put a pause on deliveries of nonlethal aid to Syrian moderate opposition forces in the country's north after rival fighters known as the Islamic Front took over opposition offices.

Gen. Salim Idris, leader of the military arm of the moderate opponents to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was in Turkey when the takeover took place and is said to be there now.

For months the U.S. sent supplies such as communications gear and computers to Idris and the moderate forces aligned with him, but stopped well short of sending the heavy weaponry the U.S.-backed fighters requested for fear that those weapons would end up in the wrong hands. And then last week the Islamic Front forces overtook the moderates' headquarters, taking possession of some laptops and, according to one version of the story, swiftly beginning an inventory of gear – all without firing a shot.

"This is a problem, I mean, what has occurred here, a big problem," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday, at the Pentagon. "And we're going to have to work through it and manage through it with General Idris and the moderate opposition."

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