U.S. Trained Rebel Defector Gave Equipment to al Nusra

First, the U.S. admitted equipment it provided to the Syrian Rebels it was training ended up with al Nusra, the Al Qaida affiliated group. But it denied knowing or training the person who gave it to them.

The Daily Beast says Centcom then admitted a little more:

The Pentagon, responding to reports in The Daily Beast that a specific U.S.-trained commander had defected along with most of his unit to a group affiliated with al Qaeda, will now concede that an unnamed commander who actually had been rejected by the U.S. as a possible trainee for the fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State had somehow acquired access to U.S. equipment that he then handed over to al Qaeda affiliates.

But it gets worse. [More...]

The Daily Beast learned that, two days after the latest little contingent of U.S. trained forces entered Syria, a commander named Anas Ibrahim Obaid, known as Abu Zayd, linked up with them, and handed over their U.S.-supplied equipment to Jabhat al-Nusra, the official al Qaeda franchise in Syria.

...The Pentagon, at that point, ruled out Abu Zayd as the possible link who behind the equipment ending up in Nusra hands, insisting he was only vetted by the U.S. military, but had never received U.S. training, ergo, he couldn’t be the guy who gave up all that stuff.

Not quite:

Earlier last week, The Daily Beast acquired video of Obaid with U.S. trainees entering the Syrian city of Atareb. Abu Zayd’s appearance alongside U.S.-trained troops suggested that the commander somehow managed to make himself the leader of the troops who passed the U.S. vetting system that he’d failed. Moreover, it meant Abu Zayd had direct access to weapons and equipment provided by the U.S.

Rebels told The Daily Beast without equivocation that Abu Zayd was the man who had handed over the U.S. equipment to Nusra.

Who is Abu Zayd?

Abu Zayd is a commander in Division 30, a rebel group from which the United States recruits fighters to receive U.S. training and equipment as long as they agree to fight ISIS instead of, or at least before, making war on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Centcom's latest response to the Daily Beast:

“In this particular instance, the [vetted] commander leading the [U.S. trained] graduates self-reported to coalition forces that under threat from Al Nusra, they surrendered six trucks and some ammunition to a suspected Al Nusra Front intermediary to secure safe passage. We will look at what we can do to prevent such a situation in the future, but given the complexity of the battlefield it is not possible to eliminate all risk.

Bottom line: Just as many predicted, the U.S. program of providing weapons and training to "moderate" Syrian Rebels is a crapshoot, at best.

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  • Display: Sort:
    A Crap Shoot at Best ? (none / 0) (#1)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Sep 28, 2015 at 12:52:55 PM EST
    Name one thing we have done in the ME that hasn't been a huge mistake.  No crap shoot, we get involved and it goes to S, guaranteed.

    I suppose that is why we seem to have (none / 0) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Sep 28, 2015 at 01:10:23 PM EST
    Given up on training rebels, and are negotiating with Russia about an Assad power transition while Russia is attempting to negotiate fighting ISIS with us.