How The U.S. Continues To Arm al-QaedaBy Moon of Alabama
According to rebels in the Turkish border zone, weapons have flowed steadily into Syria since the ceasefire began. Even those who hope for a political settlement aren’t betting on one any time soon. Instead they’re stockpiling for the next round, which they expect will be as desperate as the last.
... “We ask the Friends of Syria and they give us,” [Colonel Hassan Rajoub, commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) Division 18], said with a smile. “They have just now given us new supplies of everything. But we want some special weapons to give us a little bit of leverage.”
[S]everal FSA commanders said the United States had been forthcoming during the ceasefire period, replenishing arms stocks and leaving open the possibility that some anti-aircraft missiles might be released into northern Syria. “We expect a surprise,” said one satisfied commander.
... “The U.S. military commanders are always with us,” Rajoub said. “We ask. They are very cooperative. They understand our needs.”
Around Aleppo, It’s Not Peace—Just a Break, Thanassis Cambanis, Century Foundation, March 28 2016
Hard-core Islamists in the Nusra Front have long outgunned the more secular, nationalist, Western-supported rebels. According to FSA officers, Nusra routinely harvests up to half the weapons supplied by the Friends of Syria, a collection of countries opposed to Assad, and has regularly smashed FSA factions that were corrupt and inefficient — or that Nusra thought were getting too strong or too popular.