The Washington Post reports: Throughout the fiasco of the Pentagon’s $500 million effort to train and equip a force of Syrian rebels to take on the Islamic State, one small group endured.
The New Syrian Army completed the U.S. training course in Jordan, infiltrated into Syria and then, in March, without fanfare or publicity, seized a pinprick of territory from the militants at the remote Tanaf border crossing with Iraq in the far southeast corner of the Syrian province of Homs.
There they have remained, holding their ground without deserting, defecting or getting kidnapped, unlike many of the other similarly trained rebels whose mishaps prompted the temporary suspension of the program last year.
Even this modest success is now in jeopardy, however, following an Islamic State suicide attack this month. An armored vehicle barreled into the rebels’ base shortly before dawn on May 7, killing a number of them, said Lt. Col. Mohammed Tallaa, a Syrian officer who defected and is the group’s commander. [Continue reading…]