U.S. Says 'Rebel'- Terrorists It Trained Surrendered Matériel in Syria

 WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said Friday that an American-trained rebel commander in Syria had surrendered trucks and ammunition this week to forces affiliated with an offshoot of Al Qaeda.

Military officials, who days before had denied reports of the handover, called the disclosure “very concerning” and a violation of guidelines for the American training program for Syrian rebels, the New York Times reported.

United States Central Command said the ''rebel''- terrorists- commander told the military that he surrendered the American-provided ammunition and trucks early this week in exchange for safe passage through an area in which the Qaeda offshoot, the Nusra Front, operates.

The matériel “equated to roughly 25 percent” of the equipment issued to the ''rebel'' group led by the commander, who had recently completed the training program, said Col. Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for Central Command, or Centcom.

The news came as Centcom was reeling from a series of alarming reports about the Syria training program, which has come under increasing criticism from Congress.

Last week, Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the head of Centcom, told a Senate committee that only four or five Syrians trained by the American military to confront the Islamic State remained in the fight — an acknowledgment that a $500 million program to raise an army of Syrian fighters had gone nowhere. General Austin also said that the United States would not reach its goal of training 5,000 Syrian fighters anytime soon.

Colonel Ryder said that Centcom was notified of the equipment handover at 1 p.m. on Friday. Earlier this week, the Nusra Front posted an image on Twitter of a rifle issued by the American-led coalition and announced that Syrian rebels trained by the United States had handed over their weapons as they re-entered Syria.

Centcom said Friday that its earlier denial of that claim had been based on statements by Syrian ''rebels'' that all personnel and equipment remained under their control. Military officials had also said that the image on Twitter was an old picture taken from the Facebook page of a rebel.

“In light of this new information, we wanted to ensure the public was informed as quickly as possible about the facts as we know them at this time,” Colonel Ryder said. “We are using all means at our disposal to look into what exactly happened and determine the appropriate response.”

 

M.A.

UK launches Twitter account to combat Islamic State propaganda

The Foreign Office has launched ‘UK against Isil’ to provide updates on government’s efforts to defeat terror group.

The government has launched a Twitter account to specifically counter social media propaganda by Islamic State, the Guardian reported.

UK Against Isil, which was launched on Thursday by the Foreign Office, aims to provide “updates on the UK government’s ongoing work to defeat Isil [Isis]”.

Isis blinds journalists with its barbarity, but we must continue to report

All sides of the story must be heard

Looking at the obscene photograph of old archeologist Khaled al-Asaad’s headless corpse tied to a lamp-post in Palmyra – another image for the library of pornography that Isis produces weekly – I was struck by how deeply the “Islamic Caliphate” has stabbed the world of journalism, according to Robert Fisk, the Independent.

 I’m not just talking about the reporters it has murdered or of poor John Cantlie, whose videos from inside “Caliphate territory” is a “Thousand and One Nights” saga of Scherezade-style stories, each allowing him another day of life. In fact, Cantlie’s furious objections to the US and UK governments’ refusal to talk to Isis to save the lives of hostages are valid, not least when the Americans can release Taliban prisoners in exchange for one of their own.

The sacrifice of history

The barbarians of the Middle East continue to discover new ways to commit atrocity in the charnel house they have made of their region. The Islamic State, currently the most virulent force for evil in the world, is systematically destroying many of the antiquities in Syria, keys to understanding ancient life in the cradle of civilization.

It’s the price of cobbling together a caliphate. In the midst of fearful turmoil, a hero emerges who demonstrates that sometimes principle is worth more than life itself. One such was Khaled Asaad, an archaeologist who stood between the marauders and the priceless treasures of the past. So he had to die. Depravity, thy name is ISIS, according to the Washington Times.

Islamic State has destroyed Syrian monastery, says monitor

IS militants also transferred several dozen Christians to a location near its stronghold in northeastern Syria

Islamic State militants have demolished a monastery in the central Syrian province of Homs, a monitor said on Thursday, in a strategically located town the jihadist group wrested from government control earlier this month.

The group has also transferred several dozen Christians, captured during its offensive, to a location near its stronghold in northeastern Syria, the monitor said, according to the Irish Times.

Did the U.S. Just Kill 5 Kids in Syria?

A Syrian monitor group says planes from the U.S.-led coalition killed civilians, including five children, in an airstrike near Aleppo this week, according to Michael Weiss, the dailybeast.com

According to a Syrian monitor group, warplanes believed to be part of the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition bombed and killed 18 people in the Idlib province town of Atmeh on Tuesday night, close to the Turkish border.

President Al- Assad Not to Bow to Supporters of Terrorism in Negotiations

 

A Syrian political analyst underlined that President Bashar al-Assad will not abandon his rigid stance on the ongoing war against the foreign-backed terrorist groups in his country.

"Everyone knows that the Syrian president is a firm negotiator and he will not accept any solution that would harm Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity; hence we consider war as the only solution to deal with the terrorist groups and their supporters," Syrian Political Researcher Kamal Fayaz told FNA on Sunday.