Jul 22,2017 – JORDAN TIMES EDITORIAL
President Donald Trump decided to end the CIA’s “covert” programme to train and arm certain rebel groups considered moderate and operating in Syria to overthrow the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
No reasons were offered for this decision that was first reported by Washington Post last Wednesday and has since been confirmed by US officials, but given the fact that it was taken after the one-on-one meeting Trump had with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on the sidelines of the recent G-20 summit in Hamburg, there is every reason to believe that a “deal” of sorts was struck between the two leaders on how to handle the Syrian conflict and bring it to an end.
Recently Russia, Turkey and Iran brokered a ceasefire for southwestern Syria with Moscow’s blessing and support.
Trump must have wanted to signal to Putin that he was willing, and able, to cooperate in ending the Syrian conflict along policies that have yet to be disclosed.
Whatever the reason, the US programme entailing training and arming certain Syrian opposition groups with light weapons did not have an impact on the war in the country; it made no real difference on the military situation.
The Syrian opposition groups were hoping to obtain anti-aircraft weapons to protect themselves throughout the past five years from Syrian barrel bombs and rockets mercilessly dropped including on civilians, but former US president Barack Obama never wanted to go that far in aiding the opposition.
So for now, the Syrian opposition will have to do with the limited supply of light weapons available to it; this can be expected to weaken their resolve to continue fighting, and such outcome would fit perfectly well with the Russian agenda.
At the end of the day, however, if it also leads to the end of the war in Syria, it may turn out to be a good step taken by the US president.