Executive Summary for July 20th

We review the key developments in Syria, including a decision by the Trump administration to halt covert CIA aid to Syrian rebels, U.S. concerns over a leaked map of its positions in Syria, and reports of airstrikes on ISIS-held territory in Syria killing 30 people.

Published on July 20, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Trump Ends CIA Aid for Syrian Rebels

President Donald Trump has ended a covert CIA program that provides arms and training to Syrian rebel groups, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing two U.S. officials.

The halting of the CIA program is part of an effort by the Trump administration to bolster ties with Russia, the primary ally of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

A U.S. official who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity described the move as “a signal to Putin that the administration wants to improve ties to Russia.”

The CIA program began in 2013 as part of early U.S. efforts to overthrow the Syrian government.

According to the New York Times, the decision to end the program came more than a month ago and revealed that the U.S. has given up hope of helping to topple the Syrian government.

Last April, the Trump administration said that ousting Assad was no longer a priority.

Washington Concerned After Turkey Publishes Map of U.S. Posts in Syria

The U.S. military has raised concerns with NATO ally Ankara over the publication by Turkey’s state-run news agency of the purported locations of U.S. military posts in Syria, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said the U.S. would be “very concerned if officials from a NATO ally would purposefully endanger our forces by releasing sensitive information.”

The Turkish Anadolu Agency published a map on Tuesday showing 10 locations where it says U.S. troops are based. Most of the positions are located in areas in northern Syria that are controlled by Washington-backed Kurdish forces.

He added that the United States has voiced its concerns to Turkey.

Tensions between Ankara and Washington have been simmering over U.S. support for the Kurdish YPG group in Syria, which is designated by Turkey as a terrorist group.

Airstrikes on ISIS territory in Syria Kill 30

At least 30 civilians were killed in airstrikes on two separate Syrian villages held by the so-called Islamic State on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported, citing a war monitor and opposition activists.

The U.K-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that an airstrike carried out by the U.S.-led coalition killed 15 people in a village near the former ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, according to the AP.

Another 15 people were killed in an airstrike, believed to have been carried out by Russian warplanes, on the village of Ayash in Deir Ezzor’s western countryside, the AP reported, citing the activist-run monitoring group Deir Ezzor 24.

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