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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  • Tawfiq Hassan

    Syrian rebel fighter, Tawfiq Hassan, 23, a former butcher, poses for a picture, after returning from fighting against Syrian army forces in Aleppo, at a rebel headquarters in Marea, on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria, on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • Abu Hammam

    Syrian rebel fighter, Abu Hammam, 23, a former member of the Syrian security forces, poses for a picture, after returning from fighting against Syrian army forces in Aleppo, at a rebel headquarters in Marea, on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria, on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • Ali Alnajjr

    Syrian rebel fighter, Ali Alnajjr, 20, a former school student, poses for a picture, after returning from fighting against Syrian army forces in Aleppo, at a rebel headquarters in Marea, on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria, Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • Saqir Abu Zahid

    Syrian rebel fighter, who goes by the name Saqir Abu Zahid, 22, a former University student, poses for a picture after returning from fighting Syrian forces in Aleppo at a rebel headquarters in Marea, on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria, on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • Mohammed Yaseen

    Syrian rebel fighter, Mohammed Yaseen, 24, a former construction worker, poses for a picture, after returning from fighting against Syrian army forces in Aleppo, at a rebel headquarters in Marea, on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria, on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • Mustafa Abu Shaheen

    Syrian rebel fighter, Mustafa Abu Shaheen, 19, a former construction worker, poses for a picture after returning from fighting against Syrian army forces in Aleppo, at a rebel headquarters in Marea, on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria, on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • Mohammed Sami

    Syrian rebel fighter, Mohammed Sami, 22, a barber, poses for a picture after returning from fighting against Syrian army forces in Aleppo, at a rebel headquarters in Marea, on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria, on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • Ahmed Al-Saleh

    Syrian rebel fighter, Ahmed Al-Saleh, 22, a former policeman, poses for a picture after returning from fighting against Syrian army forces in Aleppo, at a rebel headquarters in Marea, on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria, on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • Wisam Al-Saleh

    Syrian rebel fighter, Wisam Al-Saleh, 21, poses for a picture, after returning back from fighting against Syrian army forces in Aleppo, at a rebel headquarters in Marea, on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria, Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • Mohammed Abu Razouk

    Syrian rebel fighter, Mohammed Abu Razouk, 27, poses for a picture, after returning back from fighting against Syrian army forces in Aleppo, at a rebel headquarters in Marea, on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria, on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • Badir Farouh

    Syrian rebel fighter, Badir Farouh, 17, poses for a picture after returning from fighting against Syrian forces in Aleppo at a rebel headquarters in Marea, on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria, on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • Badir Farouh

    Syrian rebel fighter, Badir Farouh, 17, poses for a picture after returning from fighting against Syrian forces in Aleppo at a rebel headquarters in Marea, on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria, on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • Amir Hajji

    Syrian rebel fighter, Amir Hajji, 20, poses for a picture, after returning back from fighting against Syrian army forces in Aleppo, at a rebel headquarters in Marea, on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria, on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)