According to a timeline of Syria’s civil war by Thomas Plofchan that was posted on May 14, 2014 on The Cairo Review of Global Affairs website, in the Syrian parliamentary elections that were held on May 7, 2012 which were boycotted by Syrian opposition groups, “reports say that ruling Baath Party and allies won 60 percent majority, with most of the other seats going to pro-regime independents.”
Yet by the middle of 2013, the Democratic Obama administration was apparently involved in an even deeper way in providing arms training and weapons directly to the armed Syrian insurgent groups than it was in 2011. As the Los Angeles Times noted in a June 21, 2013 article by David S. Cloud and Raja Abdulrahim, titled “U.S. has secretly provided arms training to Syria rebels since 2012”:
“CIA operatives and U.S. special operations troops have been secretly training Syrian rebels with anti-tank and antiaircraft weapons since late last year, months before President Obama approved plans to begin directly arming them, according to U.S. officials and rebel commanders.
“The covert U.S. training at bases in Jordan and Turkey, along with Obama's decision this month to supply arms and ammunition to the rebels, has raised hope among the beleaguered Syrian opposition that Washington ultimately will provide heavier weapons as well…. The training has involved fighters from the Free Syrian Army, a loose confederation of rebel groups that the Obama administration has promised to back with expanded military assistance, said a U.S. official, who discussed the effort anonymously because he was not authorized to disclose details.
“The number of rebels given U.S. instruction in Jordan and Turkey could not be determined, but in Jordan, the training involves 20 to 45 insurgents at a time, a rebel commander said…The two-week courses include training with Russian-designed 14.5-millimeter antitank rifles, anti-tank missiles and 23-millimeter antiaircraft weapons, according to a rebel commander in the Syrian province of Dara who helps oversee weapons acquisitions and who asked that his name not be used because the program is secret.
“The training began in November  at a new American base in the desert in southwestern Jordan, he said. So far, about 100 rebels from Dara have attended four courses, and rebels from Damascus, the Syrian capital, have attended three, he said.
`Those from the CIA, we would sit and talk with them during breaks from training, and afterward they would try to get information on the situation’ in Syria, he said….
“Since last year, the weapons sent through the Dara rebel military council have included four or five Russian-made heavy Concourse antitank missiles, 18 14.5-millimeter guns mounted on the backs of pickup trucks and 30 82-millimeter recoil-less rifles…Asked Friday about the CIA training, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the U.S. had increased its aid to the rebels in the Free Syrian Army, but he refused to provide details…
"CIA officials declined to comment on the secret training programs, which was being done covertly in part because of U.S. legal concerns about publicly arming the rebels, which would constitute an act of war against the Assad government….
“Brig. Gen. Yahya Bittar, who defected as a fighter pilot from Assad's air force last year and is head of intelligence for the Free Syrian Army, said training for the last month or so had taken place in Jordan.
“The training, conducted by American, Jordanian and French operatives, involves rockets and anti-tank and antiaircraft weaponry, he said.
“Between 80 and 100 rebels from all over Syria have gone through the courses in the last month, he said, and training is continuing. Graduates are sent back across the border to rejoin the battle…”
(end of part 29)