CIA-backed Syrian rebel factions in southeastern Syria have been formally told by the CIA to end all fighting and retreat across the border into Jordan. The “request” has also been endorsed by Jordan and Saudi Arabia, two other backers of the fighters.
This comes amid a Syrian Army push into the nation’s southeast, which is primarily focused on attacking ISIS fighters. Though the US previously appeared to be eager to fight to keep Syrian forces out of this area, that no longer seems to be the case.
This includes the rebel base at al-Tanf, on the three-way border between Jordan, Syria, and Iraq. The US had troops operating out of this base in the past, but presumably won’t keep them there if they want the rebels in Jordan.
The rebels don’t appear to be interested in withdrawing so far, as they believe being sent to Jordan is tantamount to being told to end the war. It’s also possible they’re simply being sent to Jordan to get new CIA orders for a change in strategy.
It’s not clear how much control the CIA ever had over these groups though, and especially now that they’ve stopped arming them, it’s really uncertain that they can successfully call them off like this. Rebel leaders say they intend to fight to the last man.
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