In January, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) suggested the Obama Administration may have been smuggling guns to jihadist groups in the Middle East in a possible “international Fast and Furious” gun running operation. Rand Paul later doubled down and accused the Obama Administration of a cover-up for running guns through Turkey to terrorist groups in the region.
Then in February Senator Paul demanded that the administration answer whether or not they were running guns through Turkey to Syria.
It looks like Senator Paul has his answer. It was leaked to The New York Times.
The New York Times reported today that the US has been sending “military aid” to the Syrian opposition for a year now.
With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders.
The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.
As it evolved, the airlift correlated with shifts in the war within Syria, as rebels drove Syria’s army from territory by the middle of last year. And even as the Obama administration has publicly refused to give more than “nonlethal” aid to the rebels, the involvement of the C.I.A. in the arms shipments — albeit mostly in a consultative role, American officials say — has shown that the United States is more willing to help its Arab allies support the lethal side of the civil war.