16:37 GMT +325 February 2017
    Free Syrian Army fighters clean their weapons and check ammunition at their base on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria.

    Strange Bedfellows in Syria: What Washington Prefers Not to Speak Of

    © AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra
    Get short URL

    Although Washington has long been in denial and refused to admit that US-backed rebel groups were intermingled with al-Qaeda in Syria, the unpleasant truth has finally come to light, Gareth Porter notes.

    To the embarrassment of the Obama administration, it turns out that the CIA-armed and trained Syrian militants have long been colluding with al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front and its close ally Ahrar al-Sham, American historian, investigative journalist and author Gareth Porter notes.

    "A crucial problem in news media coverage of the Syrian civil war has been how to characterize the relationship between the so-called 'moderate' opposition forces armed by the CIA, on one hand, and the al-Qaeda franchise al-Nusra Front (and its close ally Ahrar al-Sham), on the other," Porter writes in his article for media-watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

    The journalist calls attention to the fact that it is "a politically sensitive issue for US policy," which is aimed at toppling Bashar al-Assad. The US leadership does not want to be seen having something in common with the movement responsible for 9/11.

    That is why the Western narrative on what was going on in Syria, especially during the active phase of the Russo-Syrian joint operation on the ground, was largely distorted.

    "Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press," award-winning author and foreign correspondent Stephen Kinzer wrote in his Op-Ed for The Boston Globe.

    "Much of the American press is reporting the opposite of what is actually happening," Kinzer remarked, referring to the media coverage of the battle for Aleppo.

    Indeed, the Western press jumped at the opportunity to point the finger of blame at Russia for bombing the so-called moderate Syrian rebels instead of terrorists in the region.

    "Many news reports suggest that Aleppo has been a 'liberated zone' for three years but is now being pulled back into misery," Kinzer recalled.

    However, the truth of the matter is that it was actually the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front who "liberated" Aleppo back in 2013.

    "The US has remained silent about Nusra Front's leading role in the military effort against Assad, concealing the fact that Nusra's success in northwest Syria has been a key element in Secretary of State John Kerry's diplomatic strategy for Syria," Porter explains.

    Fehim Tastekin of Al-Monitor explained in his February article that in addition to its strongholds in rural Idlib, al-Nusra Front had a presence in north of Aleppo, as well as in Turkmen regions of Latakia and Azaz, having significant mobilization capacity in these areas. It generally operates under the flag of its close ally Ahrar al-Sham.

    Fighters from Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front drive in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.
    © AFP 2016/ AMC / FADI AL-HALABI
    Fighters from Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front drive in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.

    It was hard to keep the fact that US-sponsored groups were fighting hand-in-hand with al-Qaeda in Syria swept under the carpet.

    In their October article for The Washington Post Liz Sly and Andrew Roth admitted that Russia was targeting the sites of "recently formed coalition Jaish al-Fateh," which included al-Nusra Front and an "assortment of Islamist and moderate factions."

    "What was missing, however, was the fact that Jaish al-Fateh was not merely a 'coalition' but a military command structure, meaning that a much tighter relationship existed between the US-supported 'moderates' and the al-Qaeda franchise," Porter stresses.

    To add to the confusion, Western media reported that the US continued to provide weaponry (including TOW anti-tank missile) to Syrian rebels in the region, which meant the arms most likely fell into the hands of al-Nusra Front, according to the journalist.

    However, the controversy reached its climax during the US-Russian negotiations on a partial ceasefire in Syria. It was the time when Western reporters had to admit that the al-Qaeda franchise has long been intermingled with "moderate" Syrian rebels.

    Citing Washington Post associate editor and senior national security correspondent Karen DeYoung, Porter stresses that DeYoung turned the spotlight on the fact that Kerry had proposed in the Munich negotiations to "leave Jabhat al Nusra [al-Nusra Front] off limits to bombing, as part of a ceasefire, at least temporarily, until the groups can be sorted out."

    "Kerry's negotiating position reflected the fact that CIA groups were certain to be hit in strikes on areas controlled by Nusra Front, as well as the reality that al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham were central to the success of the US-backed military effort against Assad," Porter emphasizes.

    The next day it was US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner's turn to openly recognize the unpleasant truth: "Yes, I believe there is some co-mingling of these groups," he said, as quoted by the investigative journalist.

    The greater the truth, the greater the libel, an old British proverb says.


    Daesh Terrorists: A Multifunction Tool in Hands of Ankara, Riyadh, NATO
    How NATO is Sowing Seeds of Perpetual Chaos in Middle East, North Africa
    Crackdown Amid Ceasefire: Syrian Army Pounds Al-Nusra in Idlib Province
    Russia in Syria: 'If You Leave in a Peaceful Time, You Leave as a Winner'
    alliance, coalition, The Syrian war, Ahrar al-Sham, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda, Bashar al-Assad, John Kerry, Azaz, Turkey, Syria, United States, Russia, Aleppo
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik
    • Сomment

    All comments

    • avatar
      teddy j

      great honors to RUSSIA for standing up for the truth and the decency of showing that the nature of evil very often HIDES in plain sight -- and for showing HOW this has come to be with the ''tight relationship" between the USA/CIA and the terrorists.

      THANK YOU RUSSIA -- please continue to stand firm on the principles of human dignity, truth , and justice. and working towards peace .
    • nshahhsh
      These are very old news, where most of us knew about it since past 3yrs except for most of those zombies in the US and Europe .. Please update us the latest news Sputnik.. tq
    • avatar
      The American press in general are traitors to mankind. They play the puppet of the terrorist American government and simply regurgitate the propaganda the criminal American government directs them to speak of. Each and every journalist is a complete failure to their profession and should hide in shame.
    • ariavd
      allready upton sinclair ,in moneychangers ,(Download from gutenberg and read? easter is reading time.) .And in biblical times. we belive what we want to belive, Thanks to internett, the world may be a better place .And the deal with the devil ,is a deal to the bitter end.
    • avatar
      haha funny yet sadly true. i've been doing that for many years now and amazingly, in 99% of the cases, it eventually turns out that it was a good decision to believe the opposite of washington's claims.
    • avatar
      The US-led regime chance interventions in Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011 violated all international legal instruments, all norms that govern international relations and extant resolutions of the UN Security Council. It was a rogue action by rogue nations and to that extent could be called acts of international terrorism. The US recruited, trained and funded the Afghanistan and Pakistan Mujahedins in the 1980s- the precursors to the Taliban and Osama bin Laden's al-Quaeda- who plotted and executed the 9/11 terrorist acts in the US and across the globe. These are the CIA's Frankenstein monsters that the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to 'take out' and are equally using drone strikes to eliminate in Pakistan. The US-led NATO regime change operations in Libya in 2011 involved the recruitment, equipping and funding of extremist jihadist groups and salafist terror cells- with Saudi and Qatar assistance. These terror infrastructure that were dressed up and paraded as pro-democracy activists and freedom fighters have now been effectively absorbed by the Daesh which the CIA, assisted by Saudi Arabia , Turkey and Qatar, created in Syria. These are the terror groups murdered the American ambassador to Libya and that they and NATO allies are currently scratching their head, confused about how to sort out the mess they created.
      The is compelling evidence showing that Saudi, Turkey and Qatar supplied and CIA trained and well armed extremist sunni islamist and terror groups were embedded into the ranks of mainly peaceful protesters seeking reforms in Syria. Once these carefully inserted groups turned violent and levied war against the Syrian state, the situation got out of control and the rest, as the saying goes, is history. It is thus wrong to speak of 'strange bedfellows' with regard to the Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, the CIA-trained Free Syrian Army and the US war effort in Syria. They are nothing but different sides of the same coin, as poignantly noted in the US facilitation of the Daaesh conquest of Palmyra and refusal to assist the Syrian army in taking them out from there. Countless other examples abound.
      The Munich security summit and the current Geneva talks with regard to the cessation of hostilities may have blown the lid over the co-mingling of the various franchises of terrorist infrastructure that are in the pay of the Americans and her allies, the reality of this mutual interdependence and interpenetration of forces has been ever present since 2011.
    Show new comments (0)