Over last weekend, it was revealed that the second class of US-trained New Syrian Forces rebels (NSF) had crossed into Syria, between 70 and 75 by various reports. By Tuesday, it was being reported by al-Qaeda that the NSF class had given them all their US-made weapons and vehicles. The Pentagon loudly denied this, and claimed al-Qaeda made the whole thing up with “repurposed” photos.
Despite the Pentagon insisting all the NSF forces and their gear was “accounted for,” today they conceded that the initial reports were true after all, and that the NSF commander had indeed turned over a significant portion of their gear to al-Qaeda upon entering Syria.
Centcom spokesman Col. Patrick Ryder said the report was “very concerning” and said that the NSF commander was violating the rules of the NSF program by giving his weaponry to al-Qaeda, saying the Central Command is still looking for an “appropriate response.”
The admission is another blow to the NSF scheme, after admissions from Centcom commander Gen. Lloyd Austin last week that the 54-man first class was down to “four or five” people left. The first class was quickly routed by al-Qaeda, and the remnant leadership issued a statement praising al-Qaeda to try to get some of their captives back.
The NSF seems to be on the verge of collapse at this point, with the commander in charge of the program resigning recently and saying the program was irrevocably flawed.