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National Security & Defense

Report: U.S.-Trained Syrian Rebels Hand Over Weapons to al-Qaeda

First came reports that the multi-million dollar effort to train “moderate” Syrian rebels had yielded only “four or five” fighters still in the field. The rest, apparently, had been routed. Yesteday, however, we learned that the rout was not the only disaster to befall the program. We were also — surprise, surprise — reportedly betrayed by our “allies:”

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 [ISIS].

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.”

At this point, it’s truly difficult to pinpoint the Obama administration’s worst foreign policy debacle. Was it transforming the western alliance into the aerial strike force for a band of rag-tag jihadist militias in Libya — only to watch them turn on us and kill our ambassador and three other brave Americans? Was it agreeing to a “deal” with Iran that grants the world’s leading terrorist state a $150 billion stimulus, access to international arms markets, access to ballistic missile technology, and a continued path to developing nuclear weapons? Was it embracing Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government and sending it free F-16 fighter jets, while stopping arms shipments when an allied Egyptian government deposed the Brotherhood? Was it the fake declaration of a “red line” in Syria, followed by a half-hearted attempt at enforcement that would have led to American air strikes to aid al-Qaeda? Or how about the ineffective air campaign against ISIS — where intelligence analysts have been caught “cooking the books” to cover up failure? Then, of course, there’s the cringe-worthy debacle of the “reset button” with Russia, followed by Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

We should look on the bright side, however, as the last the former Secretary of State and current Democratic front-runner for president was a sober-minded, pragmatic critic of these policies, right?

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