Reports: U.S.-led Rebels Sent into Syria Before Chemical Attack

By:  Alex Newman
08/26/2013
       
Reports: U.S.-led Rebels Sent into Syria Before Chemical Attack

Reports suggest U.S.-led rebel forces were sent into Syria in mid-August, before the reported chemical-weapon attack said to have killed hundreds of civilians.

Two reports in recent days have suggested that establishment-backed Syrian “rebel” forces trained and led by American, Israeli, and Jordanian commanders entered Syria and began pushing toward the capital city of Damascus this month. According to sources cited in the international reports, the foreign-led opposition fighters began the latest offensive in mid-August, prior to the reported chemical-weapon attack in the Ghouta region of Syria widely said to have claimed hundreds of civilian lives so far.

Sources seeking to blame the Bashar al-Assad regime for the August 21 massacre have seized on the reports to claim that the dictator, despite repeated vows not to use weapons of mass destruction absent a foreign invasion, resorted to such desperate measures to beat back the latest offensive. Those suggesting the attack was a so-called “false-flag operation” perpetrated by opposition fighters to blame on the regime, meanwhile, have pointed to the news as yet another indicator that the rebels were indeed responsible for deploying the chemical weapons.

According to a report dated August 21 by DEBKAfile, an Israeli intelligence and analysis service, the first contingent of 250 foreign-trained “rebel” fighters entered Syria from Jordan on August 17 under foreign command. The opposition fighters were trained in “special operations tactics” by U.S. and Jordanian instructors and armed with Russian-made weapons supplied by the Obama administration and the Islamist rulers of Saudi Arabia, the report continued. “They are fighting under U.S. and Jordanian commanders based in the Hashemite Kingdom,” DEBKAfile reported referring to Jordan, adding that additional rebel fighters were standing by ready to be deployed.

“According to our military sources, the rebel units are advancing at speed along the Syrian-Israeli border. They have forced the Syrian brigades posted there into retreating from positions inside a strip of 1-25 kilometers from the border, and captured the villages of Raihaniya, Breiqa and Beer Ajam,” the Israeli service reported, saying that the rebels were trying to create a “buffer zone” inside Syrian territory. “This Jordan-based rebel offensive was launched shortly after Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint U.S. Chiefs of Staff, visited U.S. forces in Jordan and inaugurated the underground U.S. war room near [the Jordanian capital] Amman for commanding the operation in Syria.”

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