US Armed Rebels Gave TOW missiles to Al Qaeda
By Maram Susli | Activist Post
US-supplied TOW anti-tank missiles have ended up in the hands of Jabhat Al Nusra, Syria’s branch of Al Qaeda. The US provided the missiles to CIA-vetted Syrian rebel faction Harakat Hazm in May. A video posted by Al Nusra shows the weapons being used to take over Syrian military bases, Wadi Deif and Hamidiyeh in Idlib province.
A story that should have been headline news of Obama’s arming of Al Qaeda across all US media, largely went unnoticed. The only evidence of the story in the mainstream media can be found in the International Business times and the Washington Post. However both articles try to cast doubt on the claims that Al Nusra has TOW missiles, choosing to quote the Syrian Opposition Council spokesman Oubai Shahbandar who downplayed the incident, calling it an “Al Nusra psyop”. The New York Times did not headline the story and instead buried the information in an article headlined “2 Military bases in Syria Fall to Rebels”. However, The New York Times claimed the TOW missiles may have plaid a central role in Jabhat AL Nusra’s takeover of the bases.
Contrary to Shahbandar’s and the mainstream media’s insinuation that the evidence is an ‘Al Nusra pysop’, it is known that the US armed-and-trained Harakat Hazm group had signed a ceasefire agreement with Jabhat AL Nusra in November in the same region of Idlib Province. At that time Al Nusra had claimed TOW and Grad missiles were now in their hands.
It is questionable whether or not Al Nusra had ‘seized’ the arms as the New York Times suggests, or if it had simply been given the arms by Harakat al Hazm. Rather than fighting Al Nusra, Harakat Hazm has had no problem uniting with them. Currently Harakat al Hazm are united with Jabhat al Nusra, in Handarat Aleppo, and are jointly fighting the Syrian Army. The militant employing the TOW missile in the video, shows clear proficiency in its use, indicating that he has directly or indirectly benefited from US training.
In spite of this revelation, there is evidence to suggest the US is still arming the FSA with TOW missiles. Videos continue to emerge of Harakat al Hazm employing Tow Missiles. The US government has not made a statement on whether or not they have stopped providing the rebels with TOW missiles and munitions.
FSA and Al Qaeda collaboration
The alliance between FSA faction Harakat Hazm and Al Nusra in Aleppo, is not a new or isolated occurrence. US-vetted rebels have in fact have been allied with Al Qaeda for much of the Syrian War, with localised clashes over control being rare. The leader of the “Syrian Revolutionary Front,” Jamal Ma’arouf, touted as a moderate by the West, admitted to The Independent that he has openly fought battles alongside Jabhat Al Nusra and refuses to fight against them. In 2012 the Free Syrian Army (FSA), referred to as the ‘moderate rebels’ by the US State Department, fought along side Islamist State In AlSham (ISIS) in Aleppo against the Syrian military for control over Menagh Airbase. The FSA head of Aleppo Military Council Abdul Jabbar Al Oqaidi, who has met with US Ambassador Robert Ford, was filmed with ISIS Emir Abu Jandal praising ISIS for helping take the base using a suicide car bomb. As late as September 2014, FSA commander Bassel Idriss said that they had joined forces with ISIS and Jabhat Al Nusra in Qalamoun Mountain.