The awful humiliation of Obama’s strategy in Syria continues, as five more U.S.-trained “moderate Syrian rebels” have been kidnapped by al-Qaeda’s affiliate, the Nusra Front.
AFP News reports the new prisoners were taken during overnight raids on a refugee camp near a village in northwestern Syria, bringing the total number of U.S.-trained fighters in captivity to 14, including several of the unit’s top officers. The report on the raid from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights raises the possibility that more than five members of the Free Syrian Army might have been captured during the raid.
The Associated Press reports Pentagon confirmation of the new kidnappings, although the exact number of prisoners taken remains in doubt. The U.S. military has yet to officially acknowledge the capture of eight moderate rebels last week, although the Nusra Front has released video purportedly showing hooded prisoners marching under terrorist guns. In the video, one prisoner states he was recruited by the U.S., trained in Turkey for a month and a half, and returned to Syria with an M16 assault rifle and money to “fight al-Nusra.”
Since there were only 54 members of this unit to begin with, the new kidnappings mean that over 20 percent of the total force is now held prisoner by al-Qaeda. The Observatory says the terrorists are actively “hunting down” U.S.-backed rebel fighters in Syria.
One gets the dismaying impression from these reports that the Administration is surprised that al-Qaeda went after its tiny white-hat rebel squad so aggressively. “Despite al-Nusra’s fierce hostility to the rival jihadists of ISIL, the unit soon came under attack by al-Qaeda loyalists,” writes AFP. Al-Qaeda wasn’t going to welcome an American-trained force on the basis of the hoary old saying that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”