The decree broadly permits the CIA and other US agencies to aid militants in Syria against the country’s army, Reuters quoted a source in the presidential administration.
White House spokesman Tommy Vietor declined to comment on this reports but has not explicitly ruled out the idea that Washington allowed more support in terms of intelligence forces for the anti-Assad fighters.
Washington earlier had said that the U.S. offered medical assistance and logistical support to Syrian rebels but refused to provide arms, warning that it would be counter-productive to further "arm" the conflict.
This information on a tighter relationship between the U.S. and Syrian rebels appears when the violent confrontations in Syria intensify as fighting rages between government and opposition forces in Damascus and Aleppo.
Earlier, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that the U.S. Treasury Department has issued new licenses for supplying the Syrian opposition, including the Syrian Free Army, with non-lethal equipment and medicines. Supplies included communications gear, medicines and other first-necessity items, according to the report.
In related news, last week Reuters reported that, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Turkey had established a secret base near the Syrian border to help direct vital military and communications support to the Free Syrian Army fighters.
According to the report, the base is located in Adana, a city in southern Turkey about 100 km from the Syrian border, which is also home to Incirlik, a U.S. air base where U.S. military and intelligence agencies have a notable presence.
On the ground, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a raid by regime forces carried out Wednesday against the town of Jdeidet Artouz (southwest of Damascus) killed 43 people. Some were executed.
In Aleppo, AFP news reported that the Free Syrian Army fighters on Thursday bombarded the Menagh air base that was being used by helicopter gunships and other warplanes to attack Aleppo city. An AFP reporter who heard and saw the bombardment said rebels told him it was "an attack to take this airport being used by helicopters and planes that are firing on Aleppo."
More as it becomes available.