No ‘complete confidence’ US arm supplies to Syria won’t end up with ISIS
The US can’t guarantee that the arms it provides to Syrian rebels will not “change hands” and fall into the possession of Islamic State, the State Department said, a day after President Obama eased weapons flows to Syria.
“Of course, I will never be able to say on any given battlefield – and we talked about this before – that equipment and assistance can’t change hands,” the department’s spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Friday.
It would be “difficult” for anyone to say that “with complete confidence,” Toner added, even though the US’ support for rebels is done “under careful monitoring.”
On Thursday, US President Barack Obama lifted restrictions on military aide for both foreign forces and Syrian groups, if they are supporting America’s alleged effort “to combat terrorism in Syria.”
The $618.7 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), has also now been passed by Congress, which would pave the way for Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) passing into the hands of Syrian rebels.
The measure should be appropriately vetted by US intelligence, with Pentagon and the State Department also being required to file details of the weaponry provided, the recipient’s location and the intelligence assessment.
“We have provided some level of assistance to the Syrian Democratic Forces that are fighting in Northern Syria against Daesh. That’s on top of the advice and training that we provided to these groups,” Toner said, praising their “highly effective” efforts.
While making a clear distinction between the SDF and “moderate opposition”, Toner refused to elaborate on which specific groups would be getting weapons under Obama’s waiver or the level of Washington’s assistance.
“Not gonna speak to that,” he said, referring RT’s reporter at the briefing to “go to DoD [Department of Defense].”
Neither has Toner given any specific answer to what would happen to those lethal weapons after defeating ISIS.
Instead, he praised “hard work” by both the US and “those groups” for their effortd to “bring and provide stability back into these cities.”