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Western spies get discreetly involved in Syria

Published: October 14, 2012
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Source: Deutsche Welle

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Western intelligence agencies are quietly at work supporting the Syrian opposition from Turkey. While governments officially deny involvement, media reports paint an ever clearer picture.

Experts are convinced that intelligence services are active in Syria, although Western governments have denied taking any military action there. Discretion is the primary precaution to ensure intel operations are not too widely publicized in a country that has been torn apart by violence for 18 months.

It’s been clear for some time that CIA agents in Turkey have been monitoring weapons transfers to Syrian rebels. Experts said they suspect the British intelligence service is also involved, observing the situation in Syria from Cyprus and passing on strategically important information to rebels.

CIA activity in Turkey

Reports of “discreet” action by Western intelligence agencies are not surprising, according to Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, head of the Peace Policy Research Institute.

“The US intelligence agency CIA has been active for months, mainly in Turkey,” he told DW. “The intelligence agencies that brought about the fall of the Gadhafi regime in Libya are now at work in Syria,” Schmidt-Eenboom added.

David Pollock, head of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said he shared that general view, but added that CIA activity there was very limited. American media reported that the CIA has limited itself to observing arms transfers and watching that religious extremists don’t get their hands on missiles and explosives. Arms are mainly being financed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

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