Al-Qaeda Robs US-Armed Syrian Rebels (Again), Takes TOWs, Ammo, Tank

Tyler Durden's picture

In September, a funny thing happened.

Gen. Lloyd Austin, head of the U.S. Central Command and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Christine Wormuth ended up in front of Congress to discuss how the now infamous “train and equip” program for Syrian rebels was going. Specifically, they were asked how many of the fighters that had participated in the program were still operating on the ground.

Austin’s answer: “four or five.”

That was just slightly lower than the 5,400 that The Pentagon had hoped to field by the end of 2015, but hey, at least both figures have a four and a five in them.

Let’s not kid ourselves, that’s a joke. This is just a total failure,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said.

Well, a few days after Austin and Wormuth’s embarrassing testimony, whatever remained of the US-trained rebels reportedly got robbed (or we suppose “extorted” is the better term) by al-Nusra when, according to a statement by Colonel Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, the fighters surrendered a quarter of their issued equipment including six pickup trucks and some ammunition to the al-Qaeda affiliate in exchange for “safe passage" from Turkey into Syria. 

After that revelation, the train and equip program was mothballed.

Before that, in July, al-Nusra kidnapped the commander of US-trained Division 30, and several of his compatriots. "We warn soldiers of (Division 30) against proceeding in the American project," Nusra said in a statement distributed online. "We, and the Sunni people in Syria, will not allow their sacrifices to be offered on a golden platter to the American side."

Well on Sunday, US-backed rebels suffered another humiliating setback when al-Nusra effectively took over Maarat Numan where Division 13 - one of the first “vetted” groups to be given access to American-made TOWs - maintains a presence.

Al-Qaida militants swept through a rebel-held town in northern Syria in a display of dominance Sunday, arresting U.S.-backed fighters and looting weapons stores belonging to the Free Syrian Army,” AP reports. “The FSA's 13th Division said on Twitter Sunday that Nusra fighters were going door to door in the town of Maarat Numan and arresting its cadres after Nusra, alongside fighters from the Jund al-Aqsa faction, seized Division 13 posts the night before.”

Lost in the fighting, according to sources: “anti-tank missiles, armored vehicles, a tank, and other arms.”

Apparently, al-Nusra has sought to suppress demonstrations in Idlib province since the ceasefire (which the group is not a party to) took hold late last month. “Nusra supporters stormed a demonstration in Maarat Numan Friday, carrying black banners, but were drowned out by the protesters,” AP goes on to report. When Division 13 tried to drive them out of the city, Nusra simply took it over. Or at least that’s certainly how it sounds.

“In tweets posted in the morning on March 13, Division 13 said it had failed to push back an attack by al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, al-Nusra Front, and allied faction Jund al-Aqsa,” AFP said on Sunday.

They raided all our bases and looted our weapons and equipment,” the group said, flatly.

“We congratulate [al-Nusra chief Mohammad] al-Jolani on this conquest!” the group exclaimed, sarcastically on Twitter.  

Of course the tweets are far more amusing after Bing tries to translate them in their entirety. The following tweet (presumably the full version of the last one mentioned above) translates as: "All our offices raided and looted weaponry wish not this weapon in a prostitute to another faction and blessed llgolani this conquest!"

And here's another, in which Division 13 appears to call Jolani a "punk." 

But the only "punks" on Sunday were the FSA fighters. Around 40 members of Division 13 were reportedly kidnapped.

Meanwhile, Gen. Austin wants to restart the train and equip program in order to "fight ISIS". He now says Cent Command would focus on fewer soldiers and train them on "specific skills." 

I think the train and equip program was so fundamentally broken that it likely can’t be salvaged,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told The Hill. “We, with an enormous amount of oversight and lots of U.S. personnel on the ground, still couldn’t stop the weapons from getting into the hands of the wrong people. I just don’t think anything has changed on that front.” 

No, probably not. 

You're also reminded that back in November, Nusra released a video literally thanking the FSA commanders for supplying them with TOWs. So apparently, al-Jolani's forces are going to get their hands on American-made anti-tank weapons supplied to the FSA whether the FSA just gives them up, or whether Nusra simply has to take them by force.

“If it’s going to be the same conditions that were available last time, no,” Sen. Lindsey Graham(R-S.C.) added. “I’d like to know, what — are we going to limit their fighting just to ISIL?” 

Graham and John McCain don't want to limit the rebels to just attacking ISIS - they want to give them the leeway to fight Assad as well. “Oh, we’re telling them their first priority is ISIS or something like that. I know what they’re doing,” McCain said, in a thinly veiled swipe at The Pentagon and Obama for trying avoid angering the Russians.

Of course with Russia pulling out and with the ceasefire in place, it's not clear there'd be any need to shoot at Assad. Despite his skepticism, McCain said he wouldn't block a proposal to restart the program. “I am extremely skeptical, because I’ve seen the movie before,” he said. “But for me to say no, you can’t do any arm and train? That’s not right.

Are you sure John? Perhaps you should ask yourself who trained Omar the Chechen in Georgia and then rethink your position.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
4shzl's picture

Welcome to the Briar Patch -- next time take Brer Rabbit's advice and steer clear.


svayambhu108's picture

Could be this the reason why the Russians are leaving. Aikido.

There is a nice youtube comment about the withdrawl of Russian troops from Syria:

  Putin is creating power vacuum! He is trying to lure Turkey and Saudi's to get sucked in with both feet in the "bear trap". Erdogan is desperate and will probably swallow the hook deep. If they are stupid enough (and they probably are) , Putin will gain more moral grounds ,and justify in the eyes of the world for what will happen next!

Tylers, do you cover this I think is relevant?

SWRichmond's picture

US government = bunch of clowns.

McCain = clown car driver

svayambhu108's picture

Chess against checker again.

Latina Lover's picture
 CIA's Al-Qaeda collects from US-Armed Syrian Rebels/headchoppers/McCain Stooges (Again), Takes TOWs, Ammo, Tank

There, fixed it for you.

Stuck on Zero's picture

Is this another one of those weapons losses where no-one was hurt?

Crash Overide's picture

Sad this is two guys like Graham & McCain in a position that effects our country and spends our taxes...

COSMOS's picture

Wrong R word.  Not Rob but RESUPPLY

Kissy Ass's picture

Trumps got a big todo list.
1)Give the FBI boys their dignity back. Execute Comey and stop his MLK nigga worship policy.
2)Execute CIA fucks responsible for all ME conflict, replace with true Americans.

The list is long...................................................................................................................................................................................................

Heavy's picture

Cult of the Death Clown

newbie vampire's picture

"US government = bunch of clowns.

McCain = clown car driver"

Add to that, the Pentagon trained and equipped Divisions 30 and 13 = IS armory and quartermasters.  I guess that means IS is still on the American taxpayers' payroll.


Urban Redneck's picture

Why do the Russians SAY they are leaving? (FIFY)

Most likely answer: see Helmuth von Moltke

The precise mix of rotation, reinforcement, reconfiguration, and re-positioning will be made clear enough in time. In the mean time, both the US and Russia can see what's exactly happening in real time, and both sides will lie to us about what they see. But the reality on the ground has undeniably changed significantly since Russia first (officially) deployed to Syria months ago.

Rock On Roger's picture

Didn't Putin say in six months Russia would have the job done?


I'm sure I read that somewhere...


Freddie's picture

Ha ha F**k Turkey and the Saudis.  Putin just needs to pick up the phone and call Kadyrov and 10,000 Chechen special forces will show up.

The Turks will be shitting in their pants.  When Georgia started shit with Russia, the word got out that some of these guys were coming.  The Georgians ran like hell.

Kadyrov says Putin is a like a father to him.


The CIA wealth transfer was a success.

Normalcy Bias's picture

The TOWS are probably already in a casket en route to Portland.

allamerican's picture

TOWS, sweet service to air.  no wonder RU blew out town!

allamerican's picture

TOWS, sweet service to air.  no wonder RU blew out town!

Freddie's picture

You are kidding right?  the Russians and Syrians already know how to spoof them pretty easily.  More union boy made junk from Raytheon.

Element's picture



This was just a few weeks back, you dopey putin fanboy arse-clown:

WATCH: U.S.-made missile goes up against one of Russia’s most advanced tanks - Feb 26th 2016

That's ancient US army surplus stock, designed back in the 1970s, going up against the best production tank the Russians can field right now, you blithering dope.

Max Steel's picture

Ha! There was one more video where Shtora deflected TOW as it closed in but it won't help you sleep .( Even if you employ present TOWs in nato service(they have been using the same for past 2 decades) , it can deflect it too. Shtora was built against nato offensive weapons only.

 American media as usual juggling with words and TOW didn't penetrate the Turret of T-90. It survived. 

Element's picture

Are you blind? Or just desperate to deny? That's a completely different attack. LMAO!

In the one I posted the tank is hit and crew got out, ASAP. We're supposed to believe you because you say so? No, that tanks electronics, periscopes and sensors were all hit in that blast there's no way it operated or was in any condition to fight after that, nor its crew, they got out and legged it before a snipper picked them off, or another missile hit. It would have been towed away, if it was recoverable from the area. More than likely it was unrecoverable and was destroyed insitu.

lester1's picture

Can we ship that bum John Kasich to Syria ?

Normalcy Bias's picture

Since McCain and Lindsey never saw a war they didn't like, I say they air drop into Syria with a couple of belt fed M60's and clean up the mess themselves, Rambo-style!

Rufus_Shinra's picture

Why are our politicians so stupid?

WTFUD's picture

Stupid? Corrupt, certainly.

Kokulakai's picture

Politicians know which side of the bread is buttered

I think events in the ME are unfolding as planned.

It's the American people that are clueless.

pashley1411's picture

So, Syria really was a dumping ground for the US arms manufacturers /sarc.

WTFUD's picture

You can't rob yourself, can you?

Just a phone call from Commander McCain to Nusrah can retrieve the merchandise.

TradingIsLifeBrah's picture
TradingIsLifeBrah (not verified) Mar 14, 2016 7:18 PM

You know your training was a failure when your troops are robbed while they have TOW missiles, ammo and tanks. It's a wrap fellas, shut off the lights and everyone go home

TheReplacement's picture

Not failure.  Great success!  AQ is rearmed to fight Assad.  Rebels constrained by ceasefire so don't/can't use weapons.  Is called redeployment of critical assets.

SmedleyButlersGhost's picture

OK I hit the jackpot again on this financial site. I was qualified on TOW missle launches. Awesome unless you know that they were so expensive I never got to fire one. Think about it, the other guys didn't have fukin tanks. So I can hear it, "Cpl., where is your TOW?" Answer: "Sorry MSTR SGT! I lost it". Que the CPL. being fuked off to the brig.

Kissy Ass's picture

Yea bitchez. Military talk. We need a MilSquawk over in the right margin. Lot's of .mil terms and such. Ten Hut, and "Get down and gibe me 50", "Light those civis up!". All live from actual in field combat guys.

SmedleyButlersGhost's picture

OK - we'll go with your lingo, get on your knees and give a blow or bend over and take one for the team. All live from actual fags

Kissy Ass's picture

Learn to read Ghostfuk or get your teeth kicked in!

SmedleyButlersGhost's picture

If you're telling me I misread your post - meaning you weren't mocking the military, yes - I'll fuk my own teeth out. Otherwise....

Herdee's picture

Government politicians in Washington trying to run a war. Anything the government trys to run is a disaster.

dbTX's picture

This is precisely why Trump is doing so well.

just the tip's picture

a tank?

they stole a fucking tank?

pretty ballsy.

bid the soldiers shoot's picture

Well, they didn't have to stick it in their pants like a pound of bacon.

Bastiat's picture

US proxies deliver weapons to their intended recipients


Flying Wombat's picture

This article has a couple of shortcomings.  I intend no disrespect to the author because this is a very informative and outstanding article in many ways.  However:

First, the al-Nusra Front has been directly supported (funds, arms) by the U.S. and especially U.S. allies.  The al-Nusra Front was primarily the spawn of "Al-qaeda in Iraq."   In fact, the U.S. has been so concerned about not having al-Nusra blown away by the Russians that the U.S. purposefully ensured that al-Nusra and ISIS were excluded from the so-called Syrian "cease fire."  A casual reader of this story wouldn't get these facts, because the thieving is not really set against full context necessary to really understand the big picture.

Second, though I can not prove this, I'm fairly certain my working hypothesis that Gen. Llyd Austin's testimony before Congress about the U.S. Pentagon's "train and equip" program (notice, it was not an admission about the CIA's similar program) was, in fact, very skillfully designed propaganda.  By purposefully framing and mocking the program, it made it very easy to deliver the propaganda payload that the US had little to nothing to do with terrorists blowing sh*t up and killing people pursuant to a not so well hidden and true policy of "regime change" against President Assad and the Balkanization of Syria.  Uncle Sam would rather the world laugh at him than understand what he was really doing, as it were.  It worked, as this "joke" made its way all the way to the late night talk-show circuit, never mind the echos we see to this very day on ZH, etc. 

Eric Dubin

venturen's picture

On the plus side...Obama is getting gays, women and transgenders into fighting roles in the Army...I suspect they might be tougher than the clowns their now...or just possibly why we are losing...since that is the only issue Obama and his people care about!

bid the soldiers shoot's picture


On Saturday, a Syrian jet is brought down most likely by a manpad.  Most likely a Stinger.

Today we learn: "several bases with American weapons, armored vehicles and US-trained fighters were plundered by Al-Nusra Front. The jihadists and “moderate rebels” are blaming each other for the attack."

Later today Putin announces he's significantly pulling back in Syria.  Leaving America in charge of the Quagmire until a peace agreement is reached (see second thing we know below.)


When this whole cease fire thingy broke out, the first thing I said to myself was:  "wont this be a great opportunity to re supply and rearm the opposition and the ISIS terrorists.


Basically we know two things.  The first thing we know is that we don't have any idea how long Mr P is going to take to remove how much armament and equipment, we also don't know.

The second thing we know is that this won't be over until Assad agrees to quit his office which he hasn't been willing to do for five years.  So Obama may have to order one of his underniggers to stick a shiv up Assad's ass.  We can only hope some body gets a video of it to put with the Gaddafi video in the Negro's peace and love diorama in his presidential library.


king leon's picture

There is nothing more fearless than a man-bitch hell bent on scratching your eyes out, who needs a TOW or a fucking tank?

onmail1's picture

<-- All my sons

Agents from hell

demons raised by worlds biggest demoncracy

fires fueled by Harvard educated cabalA$$lickerHomObamma

Which way to the beach's picture

The past five years would have given Joseph Heller plenty of material to write a sequel to Catch 22, likewise for Franz Kafka The Trial.


oncemore's picture

The Equipment has moved from Pentagon to Capitol, namely from Pentagon-controlled mercenaries under McCain-controlled mercenaries.
So what?