Brother in arms: Jabhat al-Nusra and the "Moderate Opposition"

Close cooperation between the radicals and the "moderate opposition" in Syria is de facto recognized even by the leaders of organizations operating in close conjunction with the foreign policy bodies of the European Union. Thus, Kirill Mikhailov, an "analyst" of the "international investigative group" Conflict Intelligence Team, speaking about the situation in the Khan-Sheikhun district noted the following. "In this region, the most diverse groups operate, from parts of the “Free Syrian Army”, including the so-called “Free Idlib Army”, to terrorist organizations recognized by the world community, such as the "Hayat Tahrir al-Sham”, or “Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham", it is the former organization "Jabhat al-Nusra", considered to be the branch of "Al-Qaeda” in Syria and Lebanon... It is difficult to say who and what exactly controls in this area." Probably, similar "difficulties" arise in the West in explaining the reasons and ways of interaction with the 1st and 16th divisions of the Syrian Free Army of the “Jabhat al-Nusra” units near Aleppo, which greatly strengthened the defenses of Islamists, including the "moderate". Nevertheless, Aleppo was taken by the Syrian Arab army with Allies support.

It should be noted that the close cooperation of the "moderate opposition" and the Islamists creates several threats at once. Not only diplomatic complications between the government of Syria, its Allies and the American coalition that arise from attacks on extremists occupying the same positions as "secular opponents of Assad" are dangerous. There is a high probability that in the hands of terrorists will be the weapons supplied by the US to their "moderate" associates.

Thus, in 2017, the US Department of Defense is scheduled for the needs of the Vetted Syrian Opposition (VSO) 430 million dollars, of which 322.5 million dollars for weapons, ammunition and equipment. 58.9 million is earmarked for operational and overhead costs (Operational Sustainment and Emerging Costs). It should be noted that under operational costs, including, it means spending on the content of the "opposition" fighters. 400 thousand dollars will be paid by monthly stipend from 200 to 400 dollars to those VSO figters in Turkish and Jordanian camps that “actively engaged in the fight against ISIS” and also “to new, appropriately vetted, trainees inducted into the program”. These costs were planned by the US Department of Defense based on an estimate of the size of the Syrian opposition forces of 16 thousand people.

In planning the budget for the 2018 financial year, the US Department of Defense proceeds from the assumption that at present the number of "opposition" reaches 25 thousand soldiers.

In 2018, despite the successful restoration by the official Damascus of control over the territories of the Syrian Arab Republic, the US Department of Defense plans to increase the number of its "proxies" to 30,000 militants. Last year, the amount requested by the Ministry of Defense was significantly increased, this year only declared Needs have reached 500 million dollars.

It should be noted that if last year the use of non-NATO weapons (mainly small arms: AK and DShK) was only allowed, in 2018 the weapons of the Warsaw Pact standards should form the basis of supplies that the United Stateswill pay for.

The US Department of Defense plans to allocate 322.5 million dollars for armament. In particular, 12,000 AK-47s, 60,000 magazines to them, 6,000 PKM machine guns, 3,500 heavy machine guns of the DShK, 3,500 RPG-7 grenade launchers, 100 sniper rifles, 80 60mm caliber mortars, 80 82mm caliber mortars and 75 120mm caliber mortars will be purchased for 104,202,800 dollars. It is also planned to supply 1,000 AT-4 or SPG-9 anti-tank weapons.

157,657,500 dollars, are intended for the purchase of ammunition, including 30 million cartridges 7.62 x 39 mm, 45 million cartridges 7.62 x 54 mm, 10 million cartridges 12.7 mm, 450 thousand cartridges 14.5 mm, 450,000 rounds of 23-mm caliber, 25,000 PG-7VM grenades, 10,000 TBG-7V thermobaric grenades, 12,500 explosive and 5,000 60-mm-long illuminating mines, 15,000 explosive and 7,000 illuminating mines of 82 mm caliber, 16,000 explosive and 7,000 illuminating mines of caliber 120 mm, 5500 hand grenades F-1.

In addition, deliveries amounting to more than $130 million, including 445 different vehicles, 25,000 outfits and equipment, 450 quadrocopters, 500 CEIA Metal Detector-CMD v2.0 mine detectors, 150 night vision devices AN/PVS-7D, 150 laser Sights PEQ2A, 200 satellite phones Iridium 9575, 300 satellite pagers Iridium Go, 290 binoculars.

The question, in essence, is not whether the Islamists will use anything out of this list. White "Toyota", supplied by the United States has long been a visiting card of extremists. It is not clear just what part of the amounts that the US Department of Defense plans to transfer to "moderate opposition" will be in the hands of terrorists.

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