Trained Moderates Turn over U.S. Arms, Vehicles to Al Qaeda in Syria

We trained moderates to fight in Syria and they gave terrorists our weapons and trucks as soon as they entered the country.

Here is another chapter in the story we have been reading for years, as reported this time in The Telegraph, “US-trained Division 30 rebels ‘betrayed US and hand weapons over to al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria’

Pentagon-trained rebels in Syria are reported to have betrayed their American backers and handed their weapons over to al-Qaeda in Syria immediately after re-entering the country.

Fighters with Division 30, the “moderate” rebel division favoured by the United States, surrendered to the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, a raft of sources claimed on Monday night.

Division 30 was the first faction whose fighters graduated from a US-led training programme in Turkey which aims to forge a force on the ground in Syria to fight against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

A statement on Twitter by a man calling himself Abu Fahd al-Tunisi, a member of al-Qaeda’s local affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, read: “A strong slap 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 handed over a very large amount of ammunition and medium weaponry and a number of pick-ups.”

It seems this might have been a sting operation from the very beginning—a kind of undercover heist of U.S. hardware for Jihadists.

Abu Khattab al-Maqdisi, who also purports to be a Jabhat al-Nusra member, added that Division 30’s commander, Anas Ibrahim Obaid,had explained to Jabhat al-Nusra’s leaders that he had tricked the coalition because he needed weapons.

“He promised to issue a statement… repudiating Division 30, the coalition, and those who trained him,” he tweeted. “And he also gave a large amount of weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a monitoring group, reported that seventy-five Division 30 fighters had crossed into Syria from Turkey early the day before with “12 four-wheel vehicles equipped with machine guns and ammunition”.

US Central Command confirmed about 70 graduates of the Syria “train and equip” programme had re-entered Syria with their weapons and equipment and were operating as New Syrian Forces alongside Syrian Kurds, Sunni Arab and other anti-ISIL forces.

Another possibility I think we should consider is if this might be a kind of Fast-and-Furious for Syria where we claim we are arming and training moderates but know better.