Over the weekend the State Department announced it will step up support of jihadi groups fighting to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
“They pledged to continue and intensify support to the moderate Syrian opposition while the political track is being pursued,” the State Department statement said.
There are virtually no “moderate” proxy forces in Syria and the war against al-Assad is waged almost entirely by radical Sunni Salafist groups determined to establish a principality ruled by Shari’a law in Syria.
Talks on how to support the overthrow of the Syrian government began on Friday.
The announcement came after Secretary of State John Kerry met with Saudi King Salamn in Riyadh. Kerry also met with his counterpart from Turkey in Vienna.
In May Saudi Arabia and Turkey announced they will work together to further support Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest), a coalition of jihadi groups in Syria, including al-Nusra.
The establishment media in the West has admitted the coalition includes al-Qaeda affiliates, including al-Nusra, and other Islamist groups.
The U.S. previously stated it was opposed to working with Jaish al-Fatah. Kerry’s latest talks, however, reveal the U.S. is now willing to admit it now supports al-Nusra, at least tangentially.
In early October it was reported the Saudis had increased weapon transfers to jihadi groups in Syria. In late 2013 Saudi Arabia purchased 15,000 Raytheon TOW anti-tank missiles at a total cost of more than $1 billion and transferred the weapons to Jaish al-Fatah.
United States regulations prohibit third-party weapons transfers, but the State Department has thus far remained silent on Saudi Arabia giving al-Qaeda and ISIS affiliated groups sophisticated anti-tank missiles.
Syrian Gains a Serious Concern for Washington and Riyadh
In March Jaish al-Fatah captured the provincial capital of the Idlib province and the following month took Jisr al-Shughur. It also took al-Mastumah, a large military base in the area.
More recently al-Nusra, Ahrar al Sham, Jund al Aqsa, and the Turkistan Islamic Party targeted Shiite villages in the Idlib province.
Jaish al-Fatah launched an offensive in July to take neighboring Latakia and Hama provinces. Latakia is home to the al-Assad family. The Tartus province lies south of Latakia. The Russians have a naval facility on the Mediterranean in the province’s capital city.
Jaish al-Fatah has also fought to take the Sahl al-Ghab, a strategic area that lies between Latakia, Hama and Idlib provinces. Joureen in Sahl al-Ghab is a supply line for the Syrian Army.
The Syrian military, backed up Russian air support and the participation of Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah troops, announced on October 1 it was prepared to launch an offensive to take back the Idlib and Hama countryside from jihadist mercenaries.
On October 14 the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies at the University of Miami claimed Cuban troops have joined Russian, Iranian, Lebanese Hezbollah and possibly Chinese soldiers assisting the al-Assad government.
It appears the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are now responding to the losses suffered by Jaish al-Fatah and attempting to bolster jihadi forces.
On October 2 the jihadi groups in Syria appealed to the Obama administration for antiaircraft missiles to defend their positions against Russian airstrikes.