“Vetted, moderate” rebels in northern Syria are joining al-Qaeda left and right these days, according to commanders familiar with the situation, as the US has suddenly and without explanation stopped paying them salaries.
Many moderate rebels have been on the US gravy train for awhile, receiving $150 a month in salary for being “pro-US rebels.” The December salaries never showed up, according to Fursan al-Haqq Brigrade leaders.
One commander said he was told Tuesday by the State Department that they would keep sending “food and medical supplies,” but no money. Another commander predicted that most of the moderate rebel fighters will quit.
Which reflects the nature of a lot of the “moderate” rebellion, that they are there to collect US paychecks and, in their absence, they’re for sale to the highest bidders, which will probably be al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.
It remains unclear why the US stopped bankrolling the northern rebels, though they’ve lost so much territory since the US war in Syria began, they may have decided these factions simply are no longer relevant to the war.