The United States is to officially begin arms shipments to Syria, after months of doing so through third parties, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
A story placed with the Wall Street Journal cited CIA sources relating plans to start supplying arms directly to the opposition Free Syrian Army "within a month."
The CIA has already begun shipping weapons to a secret network of warehouses in neighboring Jordan, in an operation backed by European and Arab powers. It will provide training to forces that are supposedly "moderate" and "separate" from Al Qaeda-linked forces such as the Al Nusra Front.
The shipments will fuel an August offensive against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
The Obama administration cited unsubstantiated US and French claims that pro-Assad forces have used chemical weapons such as sarin on 10 separate occasions to claim that a "red line" has been crossed justifying an open policy of arming the opposition.
Vast quantities of weaponry have already been sent via Saudi Arabia to Islamist groups. Washington now claims that weapons sent to "moderates" are the best means of ensuring that Al Nusra's dominant role can be challenged. This is supposed to be guaranteed by CIA oversight and training by US special operations forces. But the CIA will spend a mere two weeks vetting and training an initial group of fighters.