U.S. role in Syria gets complicated
The first Syrian rebel group to be given U.S. weapons collapsed on Sunday after losing control of its headquarters to Syria's main Al-Qaida affiliate, further complicating U.S.-led efforts to counter the rise of extremism in Syria.
The rout of Harakat Hazm culminated months of clashes with the Al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra in which the moderate group had been pushed first from its main headquarters in the northern Idlib Province and then was routed Sunday from its new base in Aleppo Province.
After losing this latest battle, Hazm said in a statement circulated on social media that the movement had been dissolved "in an effort to halt the bloodshed" and that surviving members would be absorbed into a new rebel coalition called the Shamiyah Front.
Nusra fighters boasted on Twitter that they had seized control of U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles and other American aid to Hazm when they overran the rebels' headquarters in the town of Atarib. The claims could not be verified, and American supplies of weaponry to moderate rebels in northern Syria had, in any case, been recently scaled back.