US draws a line on protecting CIA-backed rebels in Syria
- Ken Dilanian, Associated Pres
FILE - In this June 17, 2015 file photo, smoke and explosions from fighting between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels in the Quneitra area of Syria are seen from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The Russian military intervention to prop up the Syrian government has put new scrutiny on the CIA’s secret support to Syrian rebels fighting Bashar Assad, raising questions about how far the U.S. is willing to go in empowering its proxies to take on Vladimir Putin’s allies. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Russian military intervention to prop up the Syrian government has brought new scrutiny of the CIA's secret support for Syrian rebels fighting Bashar Assad.
But how far is the U.S.willing to go in empowering its proxies to take on Vladimir Putin's allies?
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday that countering Russia's involvement in Syria isn't nearly as important as battling the Islamic State.
American officials have watched in recent days as Russian bombs and missiles have targeted CIA-backed groups.
The U.S. has been continuing its delivery to rebels of American-made TOW anti-tank missiles, but those missiles are not designed to bring down aircraft — like the Russians are flying.