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Reports of al Qaeda operatives taking advantage of the instability in Syria is also a potential worrying situation, says Benjamin. The U.S. has warned Syria's opposition groups against allowing foreign fighters to join the resistance, and Benjamin says opposition groups have assured U.S. officials that they are being vigilant in keeping extremists out. But he placed the blame for the conflict squarely on Syria's President Bashar al Assad.

"So long as Assad refuses to go and Syria's transition is blocked, the danger grows of more foreign fighters, including extremists of the al Qaeda type, infiltrating Syria, " he said.
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