The United States and the U.K. have suspended supplies of non-lethal military aid to rebels in northern Syria, citing concerns that the equipment could end up in the hands of al-Qaeda-linked fighters, officials said Wednesday.
An American official told the Associated Press that the U.S. would stop providing supplies like night vision goggles and communications equipment, after ultraconservative opposition fighters seized a base from the more moderate, Western-backed groups amid ongoing infighting.
The suspension does not affect humanitarian aid, and the U.S. will continue to supply rebels in the south of Syria with non-lethal aid via Jordan.
The infighting among rebel groups in Syria’s northern region has threatened to unravel the battle against President Bashar Assad and has alienated Western supporters wary of supplying Islamists fighters. On Friday, the Islamic Front — a rebel alliance of groups that seek an Islamic state but insist they are not linked to al-Qaeda — took control of a base along the Syria-Turkey border that was previously held by the Western-backed Free Syrian Army.
More than 100,000 people have died in the country’s civil war, now in its third year.
- U.S. cuts aid to Syria rebels as Islamists advance (cbsnews.com)
- US suspends non-lethal aid to northern Syria (journalstar.com)
- US suspends non-lethal aid to northern Syria (omaha.com)
- US halts ‘non-lethal assistance’ into northern Syria after Islamic Front seizes bases (worldnews.nbcnews.com)