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Trump: Secret U.S. Program To Support Syrian Rebels 'Dangerous, Wasteful'

A Syrian man holds a poster of (L-R) Russian, Iranian and Syrian strongmen which reads, "Imperialist Iran get out of Syria" during a protest against the Syrian regime in Turkey- File photo

U.S. President Donald Trump said he had ended a secret program to support rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because it was "massive, dangerous, and wasteful."

Trumps's remarks came days after General Tony Thomas, the head of U.S. special operations, confirmed that the four-year-old operation had ended, but denied the decision was made to placate Russia, which supports Assad.

Trump tweeted on July 24: "The...Washington Post fabricated the facts on my ending massive, dangerous, and wasteful payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad."

The tweet was a response to an article that said cooperation with Moscow had become key to Trump’s strategy in Syria.

This month, the United States and Russia agreed on creating de-escalation zones in southern Syria.

Former President Barack Obama approved the secret program in 2013 as opposition groups sought external support in their uprising against Assad.

Thousands of fighters were trained and armed.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP