Covert CIA Mission to Arm Syrian Rebels Goes Awry


syria-All sides now agree that the U.S. effort to aid moderate fighters battling the Assad regime has gone badly.

Entire CIA-backed rebel units, including fighters who went through the training program, have changed sides by joining forces with Islamist brigades, quit the fight or gone missing.

Much of the U.S. focus is shifting to southern Syria, where rebels seem more unified but say they get just 5% to 20% of the arms requested from the CIA.

Officials defend the decision to keep the arms pipeline small and tightly controlled, citing concerns that weapons could fall into the wrong hands. Despite the controls, some weapons still wound up on the wrong side.

Pentagon officials are establishing a new program in Syria to build a rebel force to fight Islamic State, not the Assad regime, which will make it tougher for the Pentagon to attract rebel commanders to the program, some U.S. officials say.

{Andy Newscenter}