Middle East

Official: More aid for Syrian rebels 'could help'

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper pauses before beginning testimony to the US House Select Intelligence Committee on worldwide threats in the House Visitors Center of the US Capitol on February 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. TOPSHOTS/AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama's intelligence chief says more U.S. training and equipment for Syria's moderate rebels could boost the fight against the Assad government.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper didn't forecast any new U.S. policy in Syria's civil war. But asked about U.S. training and equipment for vetted moderate units, Clapper said greater support could help.

The Obama administration, fearful about growing extremism, has provided limited lethal aid to Syria's opposition.

It has focused most energy on peace talks between Syria's opposition and government. The negotiations have made little progress.

Clapper was testifying Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He said Syria's insurgency totals 75,000 to 115,000 fighters. Some 7,500 are foreigners, including veterans of Afghanistan and Pakistan fighting who harbor aspirations of attacking Europe or the U.S.





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