Had the US provided more assistance to the Syrian rebels early on, the opposition would have gained ground more quickly and been able to negotiate from a much stronger position, said Robert Ford, former US ambassador to Syria in a deeply critical CNN interview Tuesday. He added that "the ability of al Qaeda and Islamist extremist groups to recruit away from the moderates would’ve been less. And we would have less of an extremism problem in Syria now… Even a year or two ago it would've made a big difference."  Ford ended his tour in February, saying “I could no longer defend American policy.”
Ford followed former defense secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta in lambasting President Barack Obama’s Syria policy.