(Reuters) – Americans are training Syrian anti-government fighters in Jordan, the German weekly Der Spiegel said on Sunday, quoting what it said were participants and organizers.
Spiegel said it was not clear whether the Americans worked for private firms or were from the army but said some wore uniforms. The training focused on use of anti-tank weaponry.
Some 200 men have already received such training over the past three months and there are plans in the future to provide training for a total 1,200 members of the “Free Syrian Army” in two camps in the south and the east of the country.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper also reported that U.S. trainers were assisting Syrian rebels in Jordan. British and French instructors were also participating in the U.S.-led effort, the Guardian said on Saturday, citing Jordanian security sources.
Jordanian intelligence services are involved in the program, which aims to build around a dozen units totaling some 10,000 fighters to the exclusion of radical Islamists, Spiegel reported.
“The Jordanian intelligence services want to prevent Salafists (radical Islamists) crossing from their own country into Syria and then returning later to stir up trouble in Jordan itself,” one of the organizers told the paper.
The reports could not be independently verified.
A spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department declined immediate comment on the Spiegel report. The French foreign ministry and Britain’s foreign and defense ministries also had no comment.
More than 70,000 people have been killed and 1 million refugees have fled the Syrian conflict.
It started as pro-democracy protests but has turned into a sectarian war between rebels mainly from Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority and state forces defending President Bashar al Assad, who follows the Alawite faith derived from Shi’ite Islam.
The United States has said it would provide medical supplies and food directly to opposition fighters but has ruled out sending arms for fear they may find their way to Islamist hardliners who might then use them against Western targets.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar are widely believed to be providing weapons to the rebels, and Arab League ministers decided on Wednesday to let member nations arm them.
Bin Laden WAS NOT buried at sea, but flown to the U.S. for cremation at secret location, claims intelligence boss in leaked email
The fate of Osama bin Laden’s remains have been called into question after emails leaked from an intelligence analysis firm say the body of the terror leader was actually sent to the U.S. for cremation.
According to the emails, the Al Qaeda boss was shot and killed during the famous Navy SEAL Team Six raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, was transported back to the U.S. and cremated.
The emails were allegedly obtained by the hacker group Anonymous from Stratfor, an organisation dealing with analysis of intelligence and geopolitical analysis.
It’s also known as the ‘Shadow CIA’.
Last week, Anonymous announced that it had gotten access to 2.7million of the firm’s confidential correspondences, and said they could provide ‘the smoking gun for a number of crimes’.
The hackers said Stratfor, based in Austin, Texas, were ‘clueless’ when it came to database security.
After bin Laden was killed in the famous raid in Pakistan on May 2 2011, the Obama administration said his body was buried at sea off the USS Carl Vinson – in accordance with Islamic tradition.
But in a particular set of emails given to WikiLeaks, the firm’s vice president for intelligence, Fred Burton, says he doubts the official White House version of what happened to bin Laden’s body.
Stratfor’s vice-president for intelligence, Fred Burton, says the body was ‘bound for Dover, [Delaware] on [a] CIA plane’ and ‘onward to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Bethesda [Maryland]‘.
The claims are sure to stoke conspiracy theorists, especially since the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology that Burton refers to closed its doors on September 15, 2011, four months after bin Laden’s death.
In another email, Burton said: ‘If body dumped at sea, which I doubt, the touch is very Adolf Eichmann like. The Tribe did the same thing with the Nazi’s ashes’.
Safe house destroyed: Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound is pictured in May 2011 at left, and as it was demolished last week (right)
After World War II ended in 1945, he was caught by U.S. forces, and he slipped through America’s fingers when he gave them a phony name.
He wound up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he lived for years until he was captured by the Israeli spy agency the Mossad in 1960.
War crimes and crimes against humanity were among the charges he faced when he was found guilty in an Israeli court in 1962.
He was hanged, cremated, and his ashes were later spread over the Mediterranean Sea.