Report: Al-Qaeda Kills Five Members of Obama's 54-Man Syrian Rebel Army
Al-Qaeda'a official affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, reportedly struck the headquarters of the U.S.-trained Division 30, killing five. This follows a week of bad news for Obama's 54-man army of anti-ISIS Syrian rebels:
On Monday, I reported here at PJ Media that the first graduating class of the U.S.-trained "vetted moderate" rebels had left Turkey two weeks ago -- and hadn't been heard from since.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told Congress earlier this month that only 60 rebels had been trained through the $500 million program, with half of those funds already being spent at the cost of $4 million per fighter.
On Wednesday, I noted breaking reports that Jabhat al-Nusra had abducted 18 members of the U.S.-trained Division 30, including their field commander, just hours after entering Syria. Later reports put the number of abducted fighters at seven.
Later that day, the Pentagon denied that report. But yesterday, a number of media outlets -- including Reuters, the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Daily Beast -- all confirmed the reports of the abduction of the Division 30 fighters despite the Pentagon denial.
That notwithstanding, the Pentagon doubled-down on the denial yesterday:
Dubai-based reporter Jenan Moussa reported from her contacts that Jabhat al-Nusra was saying they didn't have the U.S.-trained Division 30 fighters:
Undoubtedly, the inability of the Obama administration to protect the handful of "vetted moderate" Syria rebel fighters who have pledged to fight ISIS will surely hurt continued continued recruiting. Despite the fact that only 60 fighters have been trained so far, the $500 million program approved by congressional Republicans back in September was expected to train 5,000 this year alone.
Now, an attack on the Division 30 headquarters killing nearly ten percent of the trained fighters is making Obama's Syrian rebel anti-ISIS army looking like the laughingstock of the Middle East.
UPDATE: Two incredible developments. First, Jabhat al-Nusra has taken credit for the attack on Division 30:
Then this claim that our NATO allies, who hosted the training of the Division 30 troops, ratted them out to Al-Qaeda: