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'Timber Sycamore': Untold Story of CIA Covert Operation in Syria

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Although US efforts to supply rebels in Syria have repeatedly resulted in American weapons finding their way into the wrong hands, Washington's covert operation in Syria is worth the trouble, US academics Austin Carson and Michael Poznansky believe.

"By most accounts, America's efforts to covertly train and supply moderate rebels in Syria aren't going so well… What, then, is the rationale for US policy in Syria? Why has the White House continued to draw on the tool of covert military aid despite its shoddy track record?" Austin Carson of the University of Chicago and Michael Poznansky of the University of Pittsburgh ask in their article for War on the Rocks.

According to the scholars, "escalation dynamics" and "unique reputational concerns" lie at the root of the White House's covert operations abroad.

The academics explain that the Obama administration's involvement in Syria "comes in two main flavors": the first one is a limited covert operation aimed at toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while the second is an overt military campaign to defeat Daesh (ISIS/ISIL).

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