Once upon a time, roughly two year ago, the US would vehemently deny that any of its weapons made their way to ISIS, Al Nusra, and the various other jihadist groups operating in the middle east and which the US is, supposedly, targeting for eradication as part of the Syria proxy war. Then, little by little it was revealed that not only is the US not targeting said groups, which led to the Russian bombing campaign unleashed in September, but that it was actively arming them.
And nowhere is this more obvious than in a Facebook page called "The first weapons market in the Idleb countryside" which showcases posts with photographs of weapons, claimed to be CIA-supplied, inviting buyers to contact page administrators privately using popular messaging application Whatsapp to discuss sales and transactions.
Think of it as a Alibaba for ISIS, in which the CIA is the main supplier.
As The Foreign Desk News' Lisa Daftari explains, Jihadists in Syria are using Facebook as a marketplace to buy, sell and barter a wide variety of American-made weapons and munitions ranging from rocket launchers to machine guns.
An AGS-17 Soviet-era grenade launcher is listed for $3,800 and below that a thermal camera made by Oregon-based company FLIR, is listed alongside posts advertising the sale of 105mm cannon shells.
Weapons like TOW and MANPAD missile launchers, which the CIA has provided to rebel groups in Iraq and Syria, and can pose serious threats to civilian and military jets, are also advertised on the page.
Throughout the course of the Syrian Civil War, efforts by the U.S. to arm so-called “moderate rebels” with heavy weapons have largely fallen flat due to fears that they will end up with groups such as Al Qaeda or even ISIS.
Buyers can also make requests for specific weapons, as one post on the page says, “Quick friends, I need a gun with a silencer.”
Page members are linked to jihadist groups Ahrar Al-Sham and the Islamic Front, the former allegedly linked to Al-Qaeda