US-trained Syrian rebels hand over weapons to Al Qaeda group
Around 70 new graduates of the U.S. training program that produces trained rebels to fight the Islamic State in Syria handed over their weapons and equipment to the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front in exchange for safe passage.
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The report comes from the Telegraph. The paper claims a number of sources reported that the fighters associated with Divison 30, the division of "moderate rebels," had surrendered and handed over weapons and equipment to Al-Nusra Front. A Twitter boast of the surrender came from Abu Fahd al-Tunisi, who claimed to be from the Nusra Front:Another purported Al-Nusra member, Abu al-Maqdisi, claimed the Division 30 commander, Anas Ibrahim Obaid, said he had tricked the coalition because he needed weapons. Al-Maqdisi tweeted:Several sources put the number of U.S.-trained fighters entering Syria as 75, including the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Middle East Eye also reported on the incident. CENTCOM issued a statement saying that about 70 graduates of the Syria Train and Equip program had re-entered Syria with their weapons and equipment and were operating as New Syrian Forces(NSF) alongside other rebels fighting the Islamic State.An earlier group of U.S.-trained fighters had been attacked by Al-Nusra and their base over-run. Their commander was kidnapped. Recently the head of CENTCOM, General Lloyd Austin III, claimed that there were only four or five U.S.-trained fighters left in Syria.
"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."
"He promised to issue a statement... repudiating Division 30, the coalition, and those who trained him. And he also gave a large amount of weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra."