A new ISIS propaganda video is raising a lot of concerns for the US military operation inside Syria, as it includes substantial footage of the rebel New Syrian Army (NSA) being trained by US special operations forces, inside Syria, in the lead-up to an ISIS attack which forced a retreat.
The propaganda video itself centers on the US giving weapons to the NSA forces, and ISIS getting a hold of many of those weapons after routing the rebels in a failed attack on ISIS border crossing al-Bukamal. That’s old news though, and the footage of the training is a much more serious issue.
Where did the video come from, and how did ISIS get it? It’s unclear why the Pentagon would want to be recording their covert training operations inside Syria, particularly in the lead-up to an offensive. This raises the very real possibility that ISIS has so substantially infiltrated this “vetted” rebel force that they’re able to take substantial video of their operations.
That’s a potentially huge intelligence problem for US forces, but even the alternative, that the video was being recorded for some reason and ISIS just seized it in the course of routing the NSA isn’t much more comforting, as this still means ISIS was able to get substantial intelligence out of the video, and to make matters worse has a close up look at some of the US trainers, which puts them at severe risk.
The New Syrian Army operates out the area around the Jordan border, with a base near al-Tanf. Both US and British forces have been on the ground helping them, and the US has provided them substantial air support, though at this point the group has no territory beyond the Tanf border crossing, the least valuable crossing between Syria and Iraq.