US Secretly Financed Syrian Opposition

World | April 18, 2011, Monday // 11:48|  views

A Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) Handout photograph shows Syrians shouting slogans of freedom and in support of martyrs during a demonstration held in the Douma suburb near the capital Damascus in Syria, 15 April 2011.

The US State Department has secretly backed Syrian opposition groups, according to diplomatic cables, released by WikiLeaks.

The secret project included the financing of the London-based satellite channel, Barada TV, which began broadcasting against Syria's government in April 2009. Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based network of Syrian exiles. The US State department have financed the group with as much as USD 6 M, the leaked cables say, as cited by the Washington Post.

The US started financing Syrian opposition groups in 2006, under George W. Bush's presidency, when diplomatic ties with the Arab country were frozen. The financial backing has continued under President Barack Obama, even though his administration tried to revamp relations with Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad. It is unclear whether the State Department is still pouring money into Syrian opposition groups, but the cables reveal that the operation continued at least through September 2010.

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Tags: barada tv, Bashar Al-Assad, Syria, opposition, State Department, diplomatic cables


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