The Obama administration asked Congress Thursday to authorize direct U.S. military training and equipment for Syrian opposition fighters, a move that could significantly escalate U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war.

Money for the program, which would expand a current CIA covert training program, is included in a $60 billion request for Overseas Contingency Operations, or OCO, added to the fiscal year 2015 Defense Department budget. Details of the OCO budget had been withheld from the budget request that Congress has been considering.

The administration has said repeatedly in recent weeks that it was preparing additional assistance to vetted “moderate” opposition forces who are fighting both the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and al-Qaeda-linked militants who have now spread their area of control across the Syrian border into Iraq. […]