US-backed rebels in the so-called “New Syrian Forces” (NSF) have turned over at least some of their equipment and ammunition to a “suspected” intermediary for Al Nusrah Front, US Central Command (CENTCOM) conceded in a statement released late yesterday. The coalition-provided supplies were given by the rebels to Al Nusrah, an official branch of al Qaeda, in exchange for “safe passage within their operating area.”

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 Nusrah Front intermediary, which equates to roughly 25 percent of their issued equipment,” CENTCOM spokesperson Col. Patrick Rydersaid. “If accurate, the report of NSF members providing equipment to Al Nusrah Front is very concerning and a violation of Syria train and equip program guidelines.”

While Ryder left open the possibility that the report is not accurate, he did not offer any explanation for why the NSF unit would lie about giving the equipment to Al Nusrah. The admission further jeopardizes the unit’s ability to receive American arms in the future. […]