US tweaks Syria policy after Western backed rebels suffer setback to Islamists

Suspension of assistance into country's north ceases in first such move since US began involvement in theater.

By
December 11, 2013 21:30
1 minute read.
Syrian opposition fighters drag a rocket launcher near the 80th Brigade base in Aleppo Nov. 13, 2013

Syrian Islamist fighters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

WASHINGTON -- The fundamentalist Islamic Front in Syria seized the headquarters and warehouses of the Western-backed Supreme Military Council of opposition forces this week, prompting the United States to suspend the delivery of all non-lethal assistance into the country's north.

The suspension— which marks the first rollback since US President Barack Obama first agreed to involve the US in the Syrian war— was announced by the State Department on Wednesday, and includes food and non-military technologies, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. Humanitarian assistance will not be effected.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The reports have "obviously concerned" the Obama administration, a State Department official told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

"As a result of this situation, the United States has suspended all further deliveries of non-lethal assistance into northern Syria. The humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people is not impacted by this suspension," the official said.

"We are working with General Idriss and the SMC to inventory the status of U.S. equipment and supplies provided to the SMC," the official added.


"Our support for the SMC is well known and longstanding. And, in general, we have long urged unity on the battlefield under the SMC and General Idriss."

Infighting among Syrian rebels has weakened their efforts to bring down President Bashar Assad in the conflict which began as peaceful protests against his rule in March 2011 and has descended into civil war.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Psaki said that the administration is still evaluating what happened that allowed the Islamic Front—which is Islamist but does not affiliate with al Qaeda and is not listed as a terrorist group by the US — to seize these materials.

"It is not a suspension of aid, or a holding back of aid," Psaki said, given the continued delivery of assistance to the rest of the country. " This has nothing to do with our support for the SMC."

And yet there have been other similar incidents with the SMC, Psaki acknowledged.

The US continues to evaluate its relationship with dozens of other opposition groups fighting for the overthrow of Syrian president Bashar Assad.

The US is still discussing the impact of the raid on stockpiled goods, Psaki added.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

A general view of the attack during the military parade in Ahvaz, Iran, 2018
September 22, 2018
Iran regime fears foreign support for minority groups after attack

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN