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Syria Crisis: U.S. Border Presence Grows

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A Syrian boy whose family has been displaced due to fighting between rebel fighters and Syrian government forces is seen near the Syrian border with Turkey, on August 25, 2012. (ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/GettyImages)
A Syrian boy whose family has been displaced due to fighting between rebel fighters and Syrian government forces is seen near the Syrian border with Turkey, on August 25, 2012. (ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/GettyImages)

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. is beefing up its presence along the Syrian border with Turkey.

U.S. officials say they are sending more intelligence agents and diplomats to advise the rebel forces in their mismatched fight against the better-armed Syrian regime, and watching for al-Qaida's infiltration of rebel ranks.

The officials say intelligence officers are gathering information from refugees and defectors, while State Department workers are helping the rebels organize politically. The officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the plans publicly.

The increased intelligence is intended to help the White House decide if its current policy of providing only non-lethal aid is enough to keep momentum building in the nearly 18-month revolt against Syrian President Bashar Assad's (bah-SHAR' AH'-sahd) regime.

The Pentagon, CIA and White House declined comment.

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