The United States has stopped paying most of the pro-western rebels fighting in northern Syria and has suspended the delivery of arms to them, rebel commanders told McClatchy Tuesday.

A top civilian coordinator for rebel forces estimated that the cutoff affects 8,000 of the estimated 10,000 fighters in Idlib and Hama provinces, where the so-called moderate rebels face a severe challenge from the Nusra Front, al Qaida’s affiliate in Syria.

Commanders said CIA operatives told them the cutoff was the U.S. response to the Nusra gains, which have included the seizure of U.S.-supplied weapons from moderate rebel forces in recent weeks.[…]