Syria Rebel Commander Confession Blames ‘Donor Countries’ for Rout

Insists Pullout Was at the Behest of Donors

Adding to the intrigue around the weekend capture of Free Syrian Army commander Ahmed Nehmeh by al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra, the commander has offered a confession surrounding the details of a November rout, one of the grievances Nusra is seeking to take him to court over.

Back in November, the rebels lost the town of Khirbet Ghazaleh, on the outskirts of Daraa, in a military rout that was blamed on “rivalries” and the pullout of Nehmeh’s troops from the town in the middle of a military offensive.

Nehmeh’s confession claims he was ordered to withdraw from the town by “donor countries” that are bankrolling the FSA’s military operations, meaning the US and other Western nations. He also claimed the orders were forwarded to him by Jordanian officials directly.

The commander says the Western nations told him they were concerned Nusra had too much influence in Khirbet Ghazaleh, and that it was giving the al-Qaeda faction too much influence in the southern front in general, so they ordered him to withdraw his troops during the fight to ensure the Syrian military would retake the town.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.