US switches military aid from rebels in the north to new pro-US security zone against Al Qaeda
The US and UK announced Wednesday the suspension of non-lethal military aid to the Syrian opposition in the northern part of the country after Free Syrian Army bases near the Turkish border were seized by a new Islamist front. debkafile reports that that was only part of the rationale for pulling the last rug from under the feet of the moderate Syrian rebel wing holding the border with Turkey.
debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report exclusively that Washington decided to switch its military support, such as it is, from the North to a pro-American security sector which is being carved out in the South by the US and Britain. The aid will be transferred to the Syrian rebels they trained in Jordan to man the sector, under the supervision of two US war rooms established in the northern Jordanian town of Irbid.
The two war rooms fall under the head of the US Special Operations Command, Adm. William Harry “Bill” McRaven, who is headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
An American general, whose identity is kept secret, is posted on the spot. His job, supported by a team of US officers, is to operate the two war rooms and assign their tasks to the 11,000 American special forces and air force troops personnel posted in the Hashemite Kingdom.
Their primary mission, as laid down by the White House in Washington in a directive to the Pentagon, is to run the rebel units charged with taking control of the security zone, which runs south of Damascus, west to the Syrian border with Lebanon, southwest to its border with Israel including the Syrian Golan, south to its border with Jordan and east to its border with Iraq. This wedge of land covers about one-tenth of Syrian territory.
Washington has designed this zone to distance Al Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham) from Syria’s borderlands with Jordan, Israel and Lebanon – and prevent them coming close to Damascus.
By this security enclave, the US also contributes to shoring up Syrian central government in the capital, including that of Bashar Assad, against Al Qaeda encroachments from the east.