World Bulletin / News Desk
Syrian opposition activists have been receiving training and supplies of vital equipment from a joint effort by the US and the UK to create a powerful alternative to the Bashar al-Assad regime, British daily the Telegraph reported on Sunday.
According to journalist Damien McElroy, reporting from İstanbul, “The training takes place in an İstanbul district where handsome apartment blocks line the steep slopes and rooftop terraces boast views over the Golden Horn waterway.”
A British consultant overseeing the program was quoted in the report as saying that the program aims to improve the capabilities of the Syrian opposition. "We are not 'king-making' in Syria. The UK and the US are moving cautiously to help what has been developing within Syria to improve the capabilities of the opposition," the consultant reportedly said.
"What's going to come next? Who is going to control territory across Syria? We want to give civilians the skills to assert leadership.”
According to the report, the program also aims to ensure that it “does not fall into the trap of promoting sectarian agendas or the rise of al-Qaeda-style fundamentalists.”
The report says the project is overseen by the US State Department's Office of Syrian Opposition Support (OSOS) and US Foreign Office officials. It says while the US has allocated $25 million for political opponents of Assad, Britain is granting 5 million pounds to the cause of overthrowing the regime.