WaPo: Trump To End CIA Program Arming Syrian Rebels, In Move Russia Sought

In this photo provided by German government U.S. President Donald Trump, left, shakes hand with Russian President Vladimir Putin before the first working session of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany. (Stef... In this photo provided by German government U.S. President Donald Trump, left, shakes hand with Russian President Vladimir Putin before the first working session of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany. (Steffen Kugler/Presse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung via AP) MORE LESS
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July 19, 2017 3:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump plans to scrap a covert CIA program arming and training rebels against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, noting that Russia has long since sought such a move.

The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed U.S. officials, that Trump decided to end the program nearly a month ago after meeting with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

That meeting took place in advance of Trump’s scheduled bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Germany, according to the report. Trump reportedly had a second informal meeting, undocumented and previously undisclosed by the White House, with Putin at a dinner at the summit.

The program will be phased out over the course of months, the Washington Post reported, citing unnamed senior U.S. officials.

An unnamed current official told the Washington Post that scrapping the program “is a momentous decision” on Trump’s part and a victory for Russia: “Putin won in Syria.”

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