ISIS routs Pentagon-backed Syrian rebels in fresh setback for U.S. strategy
[WP] IRBIL, Iraq -- The U.S. military’s efforts to confront the Islamic State in Syria suffered another setback Wednesday after the militants routed the only group to have survived intact an ill-fated Pentagon program to train and equip moderate rebels last year.
The U.S.-backed New Syrian Army said it was forced to withdraw its forces to its base at Tanf near the Jordanian border after launching what appears to have been a poorly conceived offensive aimed at capturing the strategically important eastern Syrian town of Abu Kamal on the Syrian-Iraqi border.
Islamic State claims published by its Amaq news agency that its fighters had killed 40 members of the group and captured 15 could not be independently confirmed and appeared to be exaggerated. Islamic State social media accounts posted photographs and videos showing brutalized bodies, the beheading of one fighter and small quantities of captured, U.S.- supplied weaponry.
Slipping down to the bottom line:
Unless the New Syrian Army can regroup soon and launch another offensive, “they will be finished,” said Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at the Levantine Group security consultancy. And if it is, he said, U.S. strategy will become even more reliant on Syria’s Kurds, who have proved to be an effective fighting force but are regarded with deep distrust by most of the Syrian Arabs living in areas still controlled by the Islamic State.
But never mind the regime cock-up, friendly the KIA or the huge cache of weapons captured. Please direct your attention at Loretta Lynch and the Bill Clinton airport meeting.
Posted by: Besoeker 2016-07-01