Before Leaving White House Obama Bombs CIA-Vetted Syrian Rebels Embedded with Al-Qaeda
If one event can symbolize the incoherence of the Obama administration's support for the so-called "vetted moderate" rebels in Syria, it would be one of Obama's last acts in his last full day in office.
On Friday the Pentagon reported that they had struck a terror training camp near Idlib, killing more than one hundred Al-Qaeda terrorists.
The wrinkle is that several members of a group that had previously been backed by the CIA and received TOW missiles as part of an Obama administration program—and were at the camp and embedded with Al-Qaeda—were also killed.
The New York Times reported:
The B-52 strike on Thursday, the Pentagon said, was directed at the Shaykh Sulayman Training Camp in Idlib. Pentagon officials said that it had been in operation for several years but had only recently become a base for “core Al Qaeda” extremists, who have largely come from outside Syria to fight and plot attacks. All told, 14 bombs and missiles were used in that attack.
“The removal of this training camp disrupts training operations and discourages hard-line Islamist and Syrian opposition groups from joining or cooperating with Al Qaeda on the battlefield,” Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.
The airstrike was condemned by the Syrian opposition group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, which complained that the camp for new recruits was one of theirs and that the practical effect would be to eliminate fighters who are confronting Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian leader. Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as the Nusra Front, claims to have broken with Al Qaeda, but American officials say they are still a Qaeda affiliate.
But it quickly emerged that not only was this an al-Qaeda terror training camp, but one operated with a rebel group previously supported and "vetted" by the CIA, Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki:
— Riam Dalati (@Dalatrm) January 19, 2017
— Jennifer Cafarella (@JennyCafarella) January 20, 2017
And it was quickly noted that Zenki had previously been supported by the Obama administration and many Western think tank "experts":
Nur al Din Al Zanki (formerly received US-made TOWs) was portrayed as one of the groups the US should more fully support. Garbage analysis.
— Thomas Joscelyn (@thomasjoscelyn) January 21, 2017
As I reported here at PJ Media just two months ago, Zenki was using CIA-provided TOW missiles as recently as late November, even posting video firing the missiles to their Twitter account: