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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pentagon Unaware of Newly Trained Syrian Rebels Capture by Al-Qaeda

Sputnik News

20:01 31.07.2015(updated 20:58 31.07.2015)

According to anti-Islamic State coalition official, al-Qaeda did not capture new Syrian fighters trained by the United States.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Newly trained and equipped Syrian forces have not been captured by al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate despite media reports that several fighters have been captured and killed this week, anti-Islamic State coalition Chief of Staff Kevin Killea, said during a briefing on Friday.

"That report had nothing to do with the new Syrian fighters that we have trained and equipped," Killea said. "We have zero indication or information that there are any captured new Syrian forces that we have trained."

Multiple media sources and monitoring groups reported al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate al-Nusra this week captured or killed at least a dozen of moderate Syria rebels from the US trained and equipped Division 30.

On Friday, al-Nusra issued a statement saying the fighters acted as US agents by helping to carry out airstrikes on jihadist and Islamist groups.

Al-Nusra, alongside a number of Syrian Islamist groups, such as the powerful Ahrar al-Sham, fight under the umbrella of the Army of Conquest. The groups are fighting both the Islamic State and Assad regime north of the Syrian city Aleppo.

The US-led coalition against the Islamic State has so far trained and equipped only 60 moderate Syrian rebels. US officials attribute the low number to the difficulty of finding enough recruits to pass strict vetting standards and swear allegiance to fighting the Islamic State.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has reportedly run a train and equip program in Syria and Turkey for several years.


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