Despite Barack Obama’s public stance against Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the US military has been conducting secret operations to support the Syrian president. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, under the leadership of General Martin Dempsey, provided intelligence to German, Russian, and Israeli counterparts, which was then passed on to the Assad regime. This intelligence included information on the locations of radical jihadist groups, indirectly helping Assad’s forces.

Simultaneously, the US military was indirectly supplying the Syrian army with weapons through third parties. The CIA’s efforts to train moderate Syrian rebels were undermined as the weapons ended up in the hands of extremist groups. This was due to the lack of a reliable, moderate force in Syria, causing the weapons to be sold or lost to jihadist groups.

The US military’s actions reflect a divergence from Obama’s policy. They believe that the removal of Assad would lead to a power vacuum, potentially filled by extremist groups such as ISIS. The military’s support for Assad is part of a broader strategy to prevent the collapse of the Syrian state and the rise of radical jihadist groups. This strategy also includes attempts to negotiate a political settlement with Russia and Iran, Assad’s main backers.

Despite the military’s actions, the Syrian conflict continues, with no clear end in sight. The US’s dual strategy of publicly opposing Assad while covertly supporting him has only added to the complexity and uncertainty of the situation.

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