Timber Sycamore

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Operation Timber Sycamore was a classified weapons supply and training operation run by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and supported by some Arab intelligence services, such as the security service in Saudi Arabia. Launched in 2012 or 2013, it supplied money, weaponry and training to rebel forces fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to US officials, the operation was run by the CIA's Special Activities Division and has trained thousands of rebels. The operation's existence was suspected after the US Federal Business Opportunities website publicly solicited contract bids to ship tons of weaponry from Eastern Europe to Taşucu, Turkey and Aqaba, Jordan. One consequence of the program has been a flood of US weapons including assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades into Middle East's black market.[1]

Vice-President Joe Biden is known to have been an active proponent of Operation Timber Sycamore within the Obama administration, and the President secretly authorised the CIA to begin arming Syria’s rebels in 2012.[2]

In July 2017, US officials stated that Timber Sycamore would be phased out, with funds possibly redirected to fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or to offering rebel forces defensive capabilities.[3][4]


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