A Syrian man carries two girls covered with dust following a reported airstrike by government forces on July 9, 2014, in Aleppo.(AFP/AMC/ZEIN AL-RIFAI)
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Jordan, where the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has been covertly training Syrian rebels for more than a year, is reluctant to host an expanded rebel instruction program, U.S. officials said.Jordan's reticence, confirmed by four U.S. officials, is a potentially serious setback for President Barack Obama's proposed $500 million initiative, announced in June, to train and arm moderate rebels fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad and Al-Qaeda-linked groups. U.S. officials and analysts said Jordan feared violent retaliation from Syria if its territory were used for overt training conducted by U.S. military units.Other current and former U.S. officials described the Jordanian position as less ironclad, however, and said they still hoped to convince Jordan to participate in the program, which must still be approved by the U.S. Congress.U.S. and Jordanian officials declined to give further details.
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