The United States government has largely stopped financing and arming Syrian opposition forces, who were once regarded as favorable to western ideals and interests, according to a report.
A number of Syrian opposition commanders told McClatchy on Tuesday that they have stopped receiving arms and aid from the United States, while just last month they were receiving “all kinds of support.”
The report also cited an unnamed civilian contractor who estimated that the slashing of funding could affect between 8,000 and 10,000 opposition fighters once deemed as “moderates” in comparison to groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda.
The commanders claimed that their CIA contacts told them that the eliminated funds was largely due to U.S.-backed fighters’ failure to stop the continuing gains of the Al Qaeda affiliated Al Nusra Front. The commanders feared for the worst, saying that Nusra will likely accelerate their gains now that there is no longer an opposition force that can challenge the AQ group.
A commander told McClatchy that fighters deemed “pro-western” were receiving payments of $150 dollars per month.
A commander of the Fursan al Haqq Brigade said regarding the cut funds: “In November we received all kinds of support including salaries. This month support stopped completely.”
Another unnamed commander said that he did his “best to assure” his fighters that the money would come back. “I told them, ‘We must continue our fighting against the regime and support will come back as we achieve new victories,'” he said.
When reporters asked about the new cuts, White House spokesman on Middle East affairs Alistair Baskey responded, “I won’t have anything for you on this.”
Separately, Breitbart News’s Matthew Boyle reported on Tuesday that the Republican-led House will pass an omnibus spending bill that includes $500 million designated for weapons and aid to “appropriately vetted” Syrian rebels.