New US-Trained Rebels in Syria Gave Their Weapons to al-Qaeda

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by Jason Ditz

It’s already been heavily reported how badly the first class of New Syrian Forces (NSF), also known as Division 30, did after being trained by the US and sent into Syria. There were 54 of them to start, and last week Centcom conceded there were only “four or five left.” This may still look like a runaway success compared to the second class.

The second class entered Syria by way of Turkey on Friday, and according to reports there were between 70 and 75 of them in total. Today, reports out of Syria suggest that the group immediately took its weapons and vehicles to al-Qaeda territory and turned them all over to them.

A statement from al-Qaeda’s Syria branch said the group’s membership had agreed to give them everything in return for “safe passage,” and that the leader of the second class, Anas Ibrahim Obeid, plans to issue a statement repudiating the US training strategy.

Obeid told al-Qaeda he “tricked” the US coalition because he wanted their weapons. Ironically he would’ve been one of the top ranked NSF forces left, after Lt. Col. Mohammad al-Dhaher resigned this weekend, complained the program was “not serious.”

The latest loss speaks volumes about the state of US vetting of its “pro-US” rebels, at a time when reports suggest they intend to dramatically lower those vetting requirements in the future for the sake of faster arming of rebel factions.

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