U.S.-trained rebels that reentered Syria over the weekend after completing the Pentagon program allegedly gave their weapons to the al Qaeda affiliate in the region, al Nusra.
The Telegraph reported that rebels fighting with Division 30, the rebel group with whom the U.S.-trained Syrian fighters are partnering to combat the Islamic State, surrendered and handed over weapons and ammunition to members of al Nusra, according to members of the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria.
Abu Fahd al-Tunisi, who identifies himself as a member of al Nusra, wrote on Twitter, “A strong slap [in the face] for America … the new group from Division 30 that entered yesterday hands over all of its weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra after being granted safe passage.”
“They also handed over a very large amount of ammunition and medium weaponry and a number of pick-ups,” al-Tunisi added.
Another alleged al Nusra member, Abu Khattab al-Maqdisi, claimed on Twitter that the commander of Division 30 Anas Ibrahim Obaid said he tricked the U.S.-led coalition in order to obtain weapons.
“He promised to issue a statement … repudiating Division 30, the coalition, and those who trained him,” al-Maqdisi wrote.
U.S. Central Command said Monday that approximately 70 U.S.-trained Syrian rebels had reentered Syria after undergoing training in Turkey.
If confirmed, the U.S.-trained rebels relinquishing their weapons would represent another setback for the $500 million Pentagon program. In July, al Nusra kidnapped a number of U.S.-trained Syrian rebels when they entered Syria after becoming the first class to complete the training program. The al Qaeda affiliate was allegedly tipped off by Turkey. Currently, only four or five rebels from the first class of the training program are still fighting the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL or ISIS) in the Middle East
The Pentagon plans to overhaul its effort to train rebels to fight the Islamic State.
- Report: U.S.-Trained, ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Leader Defects to Al-Qaeda, Turns Weapons Over to Terror Group (pjmedia.com)
Did a U.S.-Trained Syrian Rebel Commander Defect to al Qaeda? (dailybeast.com)
With fight against the Islamic State in Iraq stalled, U.S. looks to Syria for gains (washingtonpost.com)
- Obama’s ISIS war czar runs for the hills (wnd.com)