As part of an Obama administration plan to arm “moderate forces” in Syria, United States military equipment and ammunition went instead to ISIS terrorist forces. The man who said he himself brokered the deal, simply handed over everything to an Al Qaeda group.
“I communicated with Al Qaeda’s branch, Al Nusra, to protect and safely escort me and my soldiers for two hours from North Aleppo to West Aleppo,” Maj. Anas Ibrahim Obaid, better known on the battlefield as Abu Zayd, told Fox News from his home in the western Aleppo area. “In exchange, I gave them five pickup trucks and ammunition.”
Zayd, who said he defected from the Syrian Army to the opposition in 2012, described a program that was rife with inconsistencies and incompetencies – which was rather standard of the Obama administration. Especially when they attempted a gun running scheme (does anyone remember Fast and Furious?)
Those trucks and ammo issued to Zayd by the United States in 2015, were a part of a $500 million Department of Defense effort to “train and equip” a new “ideologically moderate” force to battle ISIS. The program, one of at least two designed to funnel arms to so-called “moderate Syrian rebels”, proved to be a spectacular failure for the Obama administration. Not that most in the mainstream media would care to report on it. Guns are bad unless Obama is handing them out to terrorists, right?
Zayd claimed that the main prerequisite for inclusion in the program was proof of association with a group that had fought ISIS, the Islamic State. That was followed by a few basic questions, like, “With which faction did you fight?” and “What do you think about ISIS?” Some real in-depth stuff coming from our government. Gun owners in the United States go through more stringent questionnaires than that…
Zayd claims the entire ordeal was as follows:
The U.S. trainers “wanted us to go into Syria without weapons because of the ambush, and said we could get the weapons inside instead. This was crazy,” Zayd recalled. “We refused.”
The weapons issue was worked out, and the rebels eventually started their journey back to Syria on Sept. 19. But Turkish border guards found something else in their bags: Syrian regime flags, rather than the flags of the opposition group the fighters were being sent to support.
Zayd said fighters charged back to their base in Turkey, demanding answers. U.S trainers took responsibility for the “flag mistake,” Zayd said, and the following day the rebels continued back to Syria. But morale was already a problem, Zayd said, and fighters who were being paid a $250 monthly salary by the Defense Department began defecting. His group of 72 shrank to just 25, he said.
Zayd said he, too, became quickly fed up with the program and planned to return to his hometown in western Aleppo to fight the Syrian regime.
But getting home entailed moving through Al Nusra territory. That’s when he called the Al Qaeda-affiliated leaders and made the arrangement to hand over the five U.S-issued trucks and scores of ammunition, in exchange for free passage and an armed escort home.
“The Americans were so angry when they found out, they cut my salary,” Zayd said nonchalantly. “But this was our only option through their territory to get home without getting killed,” he said. “I got many messages the Americans do not want to deal with me anymore. But they can’t get their weapons back,” he boasted of his chess game with the Obama administration and DoD.
A second Obama administration program, “Timber Sycamore,” was started by the CIA in late 2012 with the similar aim of arming rebels. This particular operation was active along the Turkish border to Syria’s north, and a Jordanian crossing in the south referred to as the “Southern Front.” But Syrian opposition figures say this program was also compromised, and many US-issued weapons were falling into the hands of ISIS or Al Nusra.