Syrian rebels: Turks tipped off AQ kidnappers to arrival of U.S.-trainees for Syrian force

Syrian rebels: Turks tipped off AQ kidnappers to arrival of U.S.-trainees for Syrian force
Credit: Muhammed Muheisen/AP

[Ed. Well, gee, since we treat our allies worse than we do our enemies, there’s a certain symmetry to that, I guess.]

Syrian rebels are claiming that Turkey tipped off members of the al Qaeda affiliate that kidnapped at least five U.S-backed Syrian opposition fighters late last month when they entered Syria after completing a Pentagon training program.

McClatchy reported:

The rebels say that the tipoff to al Qaida’s Nusra Front enabled Nusra to snatch many of the 54 graduates of the $500 million program on July 29 as soon as they entered Syria…

Rebels familiar with the events said they believe the arrival plans were leaked because Turkish officials were worried that while the group’s intended target was the Islamic State, the U.S.-trained Syrians would form a vanguard for attacking Islamist fighters that Turkey is close to, including Nusra and another major Islamist force, Ahrar al Sham.

The Pentagon program, which has cost $41 million in training and equipment, has resulted in only 54 moderate Syrian insurgents receiving training and being vetted by the United States since its inception.

While an anonymous Turkish Foreign Ministry refused to comment on the rebels’ claims, other unnamed Turkish officials indicated they were likely true. One southern Turkey official even hypothesized that Turkish intelligence leaked the information to al Nusra regarding the U.S.-trained fighters entering Syria to deal a blow to the Pentagon program and prompt America to more rapidly train and arm Syrian rebels fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime.

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