September 25, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Reports of New Syrian Force Equipment Being Provided to Al Nusra Front
TAMPA, Fla. - U.S. Central Command was notified at approximately 1 p.m. today that a commander of a New Syrian Forces element operating in Syria surrendered some of his unit's Coalition-issued equipment to a suspected Al Nusra Front intermediary purportedly in exchange for safe passage within their operating area.
"Today the NSF unit contacted Coalition representatives and informed us that on Sept. 21-22 they gave six pick-up trucks and a portion of their ammunition to a suspected Al Nusra Front intermediary, which equates to roughly 25 percent of their issued equipment," said Col. Patrick Ryder, U.S. Central Command spokesperson. "If accurate, the report of NSF members providing equipment to Al Nusra Front is very concerning and a violation of Syria train and equip program guidelines."
Earlier this week, Al Nusra Front tweeted an image of a Coalition-issued rifle and claimed that the newest NSF members had handed over all their weapons upon re-entering Syria last week. Central Command conducted an analysis of the image depicted in the Tweet and determined the claim to be false. This determination was based on NSF members reporting that all personnel and equipment were under NSF control and because the tweeted image was an old picture repurposed from the Facebook page of a previously deployed NSF fighter from a different training class.
"In light of this new information, we wanted to ensure the public was informed as quickly as possible about the facts as we know them at this time," said Col. Ryder. "We are using all means at our disposal to look into what exactly happened and determine the appropriate response."