ASSESSMENTS

In Syria, the U.S. Reverses Course

MIN READJul 20, 2017 | 18:09 GMT

A sniper supporting the Syriac Military Council in combat against the Islamic State. With the end of the CIA program to train and equip moderate rebels, the United States has made its intentions clear. Washington is changing its approach to Syria's civil war, abandoning its efforts to remove the Syrian president from power to fight the Islamic State. But what will emerge from the ashes of the extremist group's defeat?

(DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Previous U.S. policies to influence the Syrian civil war haven't worked, or at least that's what the White House seems to believe. The Washington Post reported on July 19 that U.S. President Donald Trump decided a month ago to phase out the CIA's covert train and equip program launched in 2013 to support Syrian rebel forces opposed to the government of President Bashar al Assad. The end of the program points to a strategic shift by the United States in its approach to the Syrian civil war, acknowledging Washington's inability to force al Assad from power and its almost exclusive focus on the fight against the Islamic State over the past year. But what happens in Syria after the militant group's inevitable conventional defeat can't be ignored. And unfortunately for the United States, no matter what it does diplomatically or militarily, even if its efforts lead to less violence in...

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