By John Walcott WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration has decided to halt the CIA's covert program to equip and train certain rebel groups fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, two U.S. officials said, a move sought by Assad ally Russia. The U.S. decision, said one of the officials, is part of an effort by the administration to improve relations with Russia, which along with Iranian-supported groups has largely succeeded in preserving Assad's government in the six-year-civil war. The CIA program began in 2013 as part of efforts by the administration of then-President Barack Obama to overthrow Assad, but produced little success, said the officials, both of whom are familiar with the program and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The Washington Post was first to report the program's suspension on Wednesday. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders declined to comment on the topic at the White House briefing. The CIA also declined to comment. The decision was made with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and CIA Director Mike Pompeo after they consulted with lower ranking officials and before Trump's July 7 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Germany. It was not part of U.S.-Russian negotiations on a ceasefire in southwestern Syria, the two officials said. One of the officials said the United States was not making a major concession, given Assad's grip on power, although not on all of Syria, "but it's a signal to Putin that the administration wants to improve ties to Russia." Trump is under intense scrutiny by Congress and a special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump's campaign had ties to the activity. Russia has denied U.S. intelligence agencies' allegations of Moscow meddling, and Trump has denied collusion between his campaign and Russians. A downside of the CIA program, one of the officials said, is that some armed and trained rebels defected to Islamic State and other radical groups, and some members of the previous administration favored abandoning the program. Before assuming office in January, Trump suggested he could end support for Free Syrian Army groups and give priority to the fight against Islamic State. A separate effort by the U.S. military effort to train, arm and support other Syrian rebel groups with air strikes and other actions will continue, the officials said. However, aside from air strikes after the Syrian military launched a chemical weapons attack, the Trump administration has not increased military support from the limits set by the Obama administration. (Reporting by John Walcott; additional reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Yara Bayoumy and Grant McCool)
In Las Vegas, everything has an end date. Casinos and resorts seemingly need updates nearly as soon as they open and what seems cutting edge today may be dated in a just a few years. The Las Vegas Strip undergoes nearly endless change.
- Yahoo Life
The "Truth Be Told" actress previously spoke to Yahoo Life about taking time for self care, which can include just a few quiet moments.
- The Hill
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who sits on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, said she is “surprised” by federal prosecutors’ reactions to testimony given before the panel this week by Cassidy Hutchinson, who previously served as an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. During an appearance…
- Women's Health
Jennifer Lopez stepped out in her first bikini of the szn and declared "summer mode activated. Shop the look here!
A rustic private island in Maine is on the market, but the owner will only sell to someone willing to stay overnight—despite perilous weather
Owner Billy Milliken told Insider that Ducks Ledges Island has dangerous conditions in the winter and no running water. It's not for everyone.
- Business Insider
Trump thinks announcing a 2024 run now could distract from the January 6 hearings, a report says. Some Republicans worry he could hurt them in the midterms.
Trump could announce a 2024 run as early as this month, but some worry it would distract from the GOP's midterm messaging railing against Biden.
- The Hill
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a member of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, said on Sunday that new witnesses have come forward since Cassidy Hutchinson testified to the panel publicly last week. “This happens every day,” Kinzinger told CNN “State of the Union” co-anchor Dana Bash. “Every day we get…
- NBC Sports Boston
The Nets are, understandably, asking for a massive return package in any Kevin Durant trade during the 2022 NBA offseason.
- The Daily Beast
CNNRepublican Gov. Kristi Noem ducked and dodged Sunday morning when asked if South Dakota would force a raped 10-year-old to give birth—eventually suggesting that “tragic situation” shouldn’t change her state’s restrictive abortion laws. “The law today is that abortions are illegal except to save the life of the mother,” Noem told anchor Dana Bash on CNN’s State of the Union.Bash had pressed Noem about the case of a 10-year-old girl in Ohio who was denied an abortion because she was three days
A judge in Brazil ordered a 10-year-old rape victim to be removed from her family and sent to a shelter to prevent her from having an abortion
Brazilian Judge Joana Ribeiro Zimmer asked the girl, if she could stand to be pregnant "a little while longer?"
- NBC Sports
Blue Jays first base coach Mark Budzinski will be away from the team following the death of his eldest daughter. Julia Budzinski was 17.
- USA TODAY Sports - Golfweek
The winner earned $4 million while last place was 34 shots behind the leader and took home $120,000.
Kate Hudson Shares Topless Photo of Herself Sipping Coffee, Prompting Hilarious Response From Brother Oliver
Kate Hudson's snap garnered plenty of positive reactions from stars including Selma Blair and Janelle Monae
Happy to report that Paul Rudd is, indeed, still an actual treasure.View Entire Post ›
- Good Housekeeping
Royal followers are wondering if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's christened their daughter Lilibet. Many are asking who the godparents could be.
- The Telegraph
Sergio Garcia's graduation to pariah-in-chief on the DP World Tour is complete after an astonishing outburst in the locker room in the wake of being fined and banned from the Scottish Open for appearing on the Saudi rebel circuit.
- Fox News
Maryland, Virginia govs respond to letter from Supreme Court marshal calling on them to protect justices
The governors of Virginia and Maryland have responded to a letter from the Supreme Court's top-ranking security official calling on them to protect the homes of justices.
- Country Living
Prince Harry's former nanny, Tiggy Pettifer, and childhood mentor, Mark Dyer, are reportedly baby Archie's godparents—find out more here.
The reporter asked the mixed doubles pair, Venus Williams and Jamie Murray, about their reason for playing in Wimbledon this year.
Rafael Nadal apologised to defeated Wimbledon opponent Lorenzo Sonego after a testy exchange in the closing stages of their third-round clash on Saturday.