According to a Fars News Agency report, senior intelligence officials from US-NATO and allied countries including the US, Britain, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar met on June 7, behind closed door at the residence of the British Ambassador in Ankara.
The topic for discussion was the defeat of the US-NATO sponsored Al Nusrah rebels following the battle of Al Qusseir which led to the victory of Syrian forces. The planning of a renewed rebel offensive was envisaged:
“Top intelligence officials of the US, Britain, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan convened in an urgent meeting at the British ambassador’s residence in Ankara on June 7 to discuss an immediate rebel attack on the Syrian government and army positions in reprisal for the Syrian army’s recent victory in Al-Qusseir,” a liaison officer coordinating the meeting told FNA.
According to the report, the participants of this Ankara secret meeting included (with the exception of Jordan) the regional intelligence directors of the seven countries directly involved in supporting the insurrection.
The source, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of his information and for fear of his life, said, “All the aforesaid countries sent their regional directors to the meeting, except for Jordan which was represented at a lower level.”
The meeting acknowledged the lack of morale among rebel forces and the need “to assess the psychological impacts of the Syrian army’s victory in Al-Qusseir on rebel groups and work out a morale-boost response to Damascus.”
The formulation of a renewed and coordinated rebel offensive was outlined, including the channeling of additional sources of financing, the delivery of weapons to the Al Qaeda affiliated “opposition” rebels (in defiance of international law and US anti-terrorist legislation):
“Given the defeat and withdrawal of the rebel groups from Al-Qusseir, the meeting studied possible geopolitical replacements for delivering arms shipments to the rebels,” the source added and continued, “Also participants discussed the focal points and methods that need to be dealt with by the western and Arab media to boost the morale of the rebels.”
The source said participants also “decided to increase financial aids to the rebels through Saudi Arabia and Qatar”.
“They also discussed several plans to retaliate the rebels’ crushing defeat in Al-Qusseir,” he concluded.
(Fars News, July 6, 2013)
Two weeks following the Ankara intelligence meeting on June 7, The Friends of Syria gathered in Qatar (June 22, 2013). France’s President Francois Hollande and US Secretary of State John Kerry were present.
The representatives from the “11 core members” of the Friends of Syria group agreed in a final statement “to provide urgently all the necessary materiel and equipment to the opposition on the ground”. The aid to the rebels was to be channeled through the Syrian opposition’s Supreme Military Council.
In addition to the funds channeled by the 11 core member states of the Friends of Syria, large and undisclosed amounts of financial aid are being channeled through private foundations based in the Gulf States.
In recent developments, the Syrian opposition has chosen a new Saudi backed leader, Ahmad al-Jarba:
“Jarba belongs to the large al-Shammar tribe, whose members extend into Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and he is related by marriage to one of Saudi King Abdullah’s wives.”