Routed last week by ISIS, the defeat of the US-backed New Syrian Army at al-Bukamal was an embarrassing setback for US attempts to prop up factions to fight ISIS along the Syrian border with Iraq. The Pentagon is already making excuses.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter confirmed that there is an ongoing internal investigation, after the US warplanes committed to the Bukamal offensive were diverted to Iraq, to attack a convoy trying to flee south Fallujah.
Officials were eager to brag about the Fallujah strikes last week, claiming hundreds of ISIS fighters killed, though that has been somewhat tempered by reports of civilian family members of ISIS being among the slain. It also came at the cost of bailing on the New Syrian Army, and getting them slaughtered by ISIS.
Which itself isn’t cost-free for the US, as Pentagon officials confirmed evidence that the fleeing New Syrian Army left behind a lot of US-provided weapons and equipment, and that gear is now believed to be in the hands of ISIS, yet more US-made gear for an ISIS force already awash in it from years of war.