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The Obama administration, stung by reversals in Ukraine and Syria, appears to have decided to expand its covert program of training and assistance for the Syrian opposition, deepening U.S. involvement in Syria's brutal and stalemated civil war.The White House announced that President Obama discussed "the crisis in Syria" along with other subjects when he met Friday in Riyadh with Saudi King Abdullah, but the statement didn't mention any details of the stepped-up Syria assistance program.Critics argue that an expanded training and assistance program, first recommended by Obama's top advisers in mid-2012, is long overdue – and that delays have allowed extremists and Assad's forces to brutalize Syria. But Obama has been cautious about descending what he sees as a slippery slope. So far, despite pledges of support for the opposition, he has authorized only a limited program of covert training and mostly nonlethal assistance. The number of Syrian opposition fighters who would receive training would roughly double, to about 600 per month.
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