American trained and armed Syrian rebels find Russian offers of support enticing

Michael Weiss writes: The Russian government is trying to poach Syrian rebels trained and equipped by the United States for the war against ISIS, according to the political leader of a prominent Pentagon-backed brigade in Aleppo — and the rebels are strongly considering Russia’s offer.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, Mustafa Sejry of the Liwa al-Mu’tasim Brigade said that he met personally with a Moscow representative the Syrian-Turkish border 10 days ago and was offered “unlimited amounts of weaponry and close air support” to fight both ISIS and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, the rebranded al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, in exchange for the Mu’tasim Brigade’s transfer of loyalties from Washington to Moscow.

Sejry clearly wants to use the offer to leverage more and better support from the Americans if he can, but that may not be forthcoming. (The Pentagon and U.S. Central Command did not respond to requests for comment from The Daily Beast.) And the Russians, meanwhile, are whispering a lot of sweet nothings in the rebels’ ears. [Continue reading…]

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