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Bashar al-Assad

JERUSALEM – Russian intelligence has information that U.S. troops are in Turkey near the country’s border with Syria, a senior Syrian official told WND today.

The official said the Russians observed American forces taking part in Turkish military measures to secure the Syria-Turkey borders.

The official said the information about a U.S. military presence in Turkey has led to a debate within the Syrian leadership about whether to move the Syrian military to its highest alert level.

Currently, the Syrian army is on its second highest alert.

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While the presence of U.S. forces in Turkey could not be immediately verified, it is not the first time the American military has been accused of aiding the insurgency targeting Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

In February, WND was first to report the U.S., Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region, according to several knowledgeable Egyptian and Arab security officials speaking to WND.

The security officials also claimed Saudi Arabia was sending weapons to the rebels via surrogates, including through Druze and Christian leaders in Lebanon such as Druze leader Walid Jumblatt; Saudi-Lebanese billionaire Saad Hariri, who recently served as Lebanon’s prime minister; and senior Lebanese opposition leader Samir Farid Geagea.

The U.S. repeatedly has denied directly arming the rebels, stating it is only providing non-lethal aid.

Any aid to the rebels is highly controversial.

WND reported in May there is growing collaboration between the Syrian opposition and al-Qaida as well as evidence the opposition is sending weapons to jihadists in Iraq, according to an Egyptian security official previously speaking to WND.

There are now widespread reports of al-Qaida fighters among the ranks of the opposition, with some jihadist branches reportedly officially joining the U.S.-supported Free Syrian Army.

The opposition is currently intensifying the fight against Assad’s forces in the key city of Aleppo amid claims, denied by the rebels, that the Syrian military has retaken the city.

WND reported that Assad held a meeting last week in which he set the goal of entirely quelling the opposition targeting his regime by October, according to a senior Syrian official.

The official, speaking to WND on condition of anonymity, said Assad ordered his military to rid the Damascus region, including Aleppo, of rebels by the end of Ramadan on Aug. 18. He said Assad believes he can clear the opposition from the region of Homs by Sept. 10 and end the insurgency by October.

The official admitted the coming weeks will be “bloody.” He affirmed Russia stands squarely in the Syrian camp.

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