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Tue, 27 Sep 2016
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Interview with Al-Nusra commander Abu al-Ezz: "The Americans stand on our side"

© Frederic Todenhöfer
Jürgen Todenhöfer interviews rebel commander Abu al-Ezz
This interview by Jürgen Todenhöfer was first published in German on September 26 2016 by the Kölner Stadtanzeiger, the major newspaper in the Cologne region. (The interview was copied and translated to English by Bernhard for educational and academic purposes.)

Interview with al-Nusra commander "The Americans stand on our side"

By Jürgen Todenhöfer

It was the seventh trip by my son Frederic and me to the civil war country Syria. We were there for 13 days. Words can only barely describe the extent of damage and suffering on both sides.

We conducted the interview ten days ago with a commander of the al-Qaida branch "Jabhat al-Nusra". Abu al-Ezz reported quite openly about his financiers Saudi-Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. We were able to exactly research the identity of the man and know practically everything about him.

Comment: Syria is the front line against the head-chopping Wahhabist maniacs unleashed by the US through its proxies Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Israel and Turkey have joined the game, as it suits their particular national agendas. Only Russia's timely intervention has prevented those mercenary crazies from overrunning the entire Middle East. The U.S. has sown the wind and will reap the whirlwind.

Snakes in Suits

Blatant subversion: Syria ceasefire deal breakdown shows US under military rule

© REUTERS/ Khalil Ashawi
A schism within US government has come spectacularly into the open, with the Pentagon and CIA militarists seemingly subverting the president's authority over Syria policy.

This amounts to a brazen pulling of rank by the militarist elements within the US power structure over the civilian titular head of government. This power struggle came to light dramatically - if briefly - with the US air strike last weekend on the Syrian army base near Deir ez-Zor in which over 60 troops were killed.

That massacre was no accident, as the Pentagon subsequently claimed. It was a deliberate mortal blow to the shaky ceasefire worked out the week before by US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.


Russia's counter-blow: Aleppo convoy attack and the Russian info-war victory

In a surprising turn of events, Russia struck back at the US and the western media disinformation campaign, causing NATO to back off from claiming that Russia or Syria was responsible for the attack on the Red Crescent aid convoy destroyed earlier this week. This became evident after the public statement of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday, September 21, in comments to media following an ad-hoc meeting with Russian FM Sergei Lavrov.

Western media outlets previously reported, both through AP and Reuters distributors like the New York Times, LA Times, etc., as well as the UK's Guardian and BBC, that US officials laid the blame on Russia for the attack on the Red Crescent aid convoy in Syria. The attack destroyed nearly twenty of the thirty-one trucks scheduled to arrive in Uram Al-Kubra.

Reuters apparently broke the US version of events, duplicitously citing two conveniently anonymous military sources, claiming that:
"Two Russian Sukhoi SU-24 warplanes were in the skies above an aid convoy in Syria at the precise time it was struck on Monday, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Tuesday, citing U.S. intelligence that has led them to conclude Russia was to blame." - Reuters, September 19th, 2016.
The same article went on to claim in conclusion that: "The strike appeared to deal a fatal blow to Syria's fragile week-old ceasefire."


Russia isn't trying to influence the US presidential election, but can the US say the same about Russian elections?

© cont.ws
Just some of the millions of freshly-minted US dollars a Russian anti-corruption official was recently caught with
This has been, as I said, a week for the news almost unlike anything I've seen here before. Mr. R.B. sent this article from Russia-watcher, The Saker, but before we get to that, a little context here for our readers outside the USSA.

As everyone knows, America is having its usual presidential race "fiasco", and the charges are flying fast and furious. Mr. Trump, in case you don't know, has repeatedly said the USSA's election system is horribly rigged. Well... duh... computerized and machine-rigged voter fraud and voting fraud have been rampant for decades, and became a major issue not when Mr. Trump made his statements, but when the Collier Brothers, Kevin and Ken, published a book in the 1990s called Votescam, which first raised the issue of computerized voting in a major nationwide way. People laughed, people scoffed, but eventually, try as the lamestream media did to demonize the whole notion, it took hold.

For Mr. Trump's efforts, the "opposition" party and its candicriminaldate (and Sith Apprentice) Darth Hillary, has been hollering that his supporters are racists, bigots, sexists, homophobes and Islamophobes, while Mr. Trump has been packing auditoriums with blacks, Hispanics, and yes, women (oh the horror!) and so on. Mind you, I'm not a fan of Mr. Trump, I'm just trying to convey for foreign readers of this site the climate in this country; it's hysterical in all senses of the term.

Comment: By "those King Charles-Bonaparte-Little Austrian Corporal moments of history", the author is referring to historical invasions of Russia, which were usually successfully repelled and usually resulted in the country becoming stronger.

Sadly, there's no reason to believe the West has learned its lesson, which is why the world is yet again going through a period of hysterical russophobia.

And while it is likely that Putin's positive influence will endure past his end, we would place rather more weight on that being down to the agency of his individual character rather than structural forces. The US may not understand that assassinating Putin won't change the Russian regime, but at some preternatural level 'The Beast' knows how important it is to take out such figures, which is why strong leaders of conscience have historically been primary targets for elimination.


Russia is not your enemy: An open letter to the people of Europe

Dear friends,

It has become incumbent upon me as a lover of peace and understanding, and as an opponent of the lies that often plague public discourse, to write to you the following:

In many countries in your region, the new media message which is being embraced throughout the world - from America to the Far East, from the Middle East to southern Europe, from Latin America to Africa - is being slandered and misrepresented.

I do not claim for a moment that new media are in anyway a monolithic bloc. The opposite is true. This itself is part of the appeal of new media.

New media are news and opinion organizations that speak for themselves, and which speak against a rotten status quo which for too long has censored free speech, free thought, and freedom of conscience in the West.


CNN's Wolf Blitzer: Money from bombing more important than dead civilians

...a lie he told repeatedly
Just in case you didn't understand why the US government loves war so much, why it loves killing civilians so much, CNN's Wolf Blitzer is stupid enough to state it openly to Senator Rand Paul.

America makes a lot of bombs. But bombs have to be used to keep generating a demand for them and keep US taxpayer's money flowing to 'defense contractors'. American corporate and political psychopaths need war to keep making more money than they can count. So they lie to justify wars. They lied about 9/11, they lied about Saddam, they lied about 'al-qaeda', they lied about Qaddafi, they lie about Assad, they lie about Russia and they lie about 'ISIS'.

Whatever they need to say to keep war ticking over, they'll say it.

Here's Wolfie:

War Whore

US deliberately killed Syria ceasefire to prevent exposure of its systematic arming of terrorists

There are several sound reasons for concluding that the US-led air strike on the Syrian army base near Deir Ezzor last weekend was a deliberate act of murderous sabotage. One compelling reason is that the Pentagon and CIA knew they had to act in order to kill the ceasefire plan worked out by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The compulsion to wreck the already shaky truce was due to the unbearable exposure that the ceasefire plan was shedding on American systematic involvement in the terrorist proxy war on Syria.

Not only that, but the tentative ceasefire was also exposing the elements within the US government responsible for driving the war effort. US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter - the head of the Pentagon - reportedly fought tooth and nail with Obama's top diplomat John Kerry while the latter was trying to finalize the ceasefire plan with Russia's Lavrov on the previous weekend of September 9 in Geneva.

While Sergey Lavrov and media reporters were reportedly kept waiting several hours for Kerry to finally emerge to sign off on the deal, the American foreign secretary was delayed by intense haggling in conference calls with Carter and other military chiefs back in Washington. Even days before Kerry's diplomatic shuttle to Geneva, Carter was disparaging any prospective deal with Russia on a Syrian ceasefire.

It is well documented that both the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have been running clandestine programs for arming and training anti-government militants in Syria since the outset of the war in March 2011. Officially, Washington claims to be only supporting «moderate, vetted opposition». However, on occasion, Western media reports allude to the deeper sinister connections between the US military and terrorist groups when it has been reported that American weaponry «accidentally» finds its way into the hands of extremist jihadist networks.

Comment: See also:


US Special Forces hate Syrian mission: "Nobody believes in it, everyone on the ground knows they are jihadis"

A former US Army Ranger over at Sofrep.com which bills itself as a kind of unofficial newsletter of the US Special Forces has a fascinating scoop on the attitudes of American soldiers to their Syria training mission. Read the opening paragraph:
"Nobody believes in it. You're like, 'Fuck this,'" a former Green Beret says of America's covert and clandestine programs to train and arm Syrian militias. "Everyone on the ground knows they are jihadis. No one on the ground believes in this mission or this effort, and they know they are just training the next generation of jihadis, so they are sabotaging it by saying, 'Fuck it, who cares?'"
That's right. Reportedly US special forces on the ground detest the work they've been ordered to do. The 7,000-word article is really much more than that -- it chronicles much of the CIA's war in Iraq and Syria including its early failure to take the ISIS threat seriously, and its continued failure to devote meaningful resources to going after the group. Instead, Murphy explains CIA has kicked that job to Special Operations Forces while becoming obsessed with toppling the Syrian government:
ISIS was now on the CIA's radar. CTC [CIA's Counter-Terrorism Center] targeted the organization, but not often enough to have any tangible effect on the battle space. Toward the end of 2014, the CIA had less than 20 targeting officers and analysts dedicated to fighting ISIS. As of early 2016, the situation had improved little. According to several sources, the CIA simply does not care about ISIS. Using an excuse that ISIS is an army rather than a terrorist organization, they have punted the job to Army special operations-the men of Special Forces and Delta Force.

In Syria, the overwhelming priority for the CIA is what some CTC officers call Director John Brennan's baby: the removal of the Assad regime.


Russia-brokered ceasefire shattered as US airstrikes against Syrian Army in Deir ez-Zor leaves 80 soldiers dead, over 100 injured (UPDATES)

US-led coalition jets have bombed Syrian government forces' positions near the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor, "paving the way" for Islamic State militants, the Syrian Army General Command told the state television.

According to Syria's official SANA news agency, the bombing took place on al-Tharda Mountain in the region of Deir ez-Zor and caused casualties and destruction on the ground.

Comment: The Syrian Army and 'ISIS' have been engaged in battle for weeks to take al-Tharda, the highest point in the region.

Sixty-two Syrian soldiers were killed and over 100 injured in the airstrike by the US-led coalition, Russia's Defense Ministry spokesman, Major-General Igor Konashenkov, said, citing information received from the Syrian General Command.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that the aircraft which carried out the bombings had entered Syrian airspace from the territory of Iraq. The airstrike against Syrian positions was performed by two F-16 jet fighters and two A-10 support aircraft, it said.

Comment: Deir ez-Zor is a strategic city on the Euphrates in eastern Syria. With a population of over 200,000 people, it has been besieged by Daesh since March 2014. The Syrian Army has been steadily re-taking control of the city from the terrorists and was on the verge of a major breakthrough in liberating the city until the Americans intervened on the side of the terrorists, yet again...

Oh well, at least, with this blatant and illegal act of war against the Syrian state, the mask of pretending to be interested in Syria only to save it from terrorism is now well and truly off.

While US jets are coming from Iraq to provide air support for ISIS, Israel continues providing air support for al-Nusra (al Qaeda) in southwestern Syria.

They hate us for our freedoms, remember?


Update 1:
Reuters broke the story by citing Western mouthpiece the 'Syrian Observatory for Human Rights' - which claimed that "Russian jets had been bombing in the same area at the same time".

So far it seems that the US has not acknowledged the strike against the Syrian Arab Army. From Sputnik:
The US-led coalition on Saturday said it carried out an airstrike against Daesh terrorist group near the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor. "Near Dayr Az Zawr, a strike damaged five ISIL [Daesh] supply routes," Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve said in a press statement published on the US Department of Defense website.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday that coalition planes carried out four attacks on the Syrian government forces near the city, killing 62 servicemen and injuring about 100.

The Operation Inherent Resolve press office declined to comment the issue, referring the question to the US Central Command.
Looks like the US is doing what it always does after committing naked aggression: It plays dumb, obfuscates, minimizes and refers questions to other sections of the Empire.

Update 2: US Central command now admits that it 'by mistake' hit the Syrian army.
The United States Central Command released a statement admitting that they hit Syrian Army positions, but claim that they did not intent to target Syrian servicemen in violation of the ceasefire agreement, but were instead targeting Daesh terrorists.

US military officials acknowledge responsibility for the bombing attack against Syrian Army positions that paved the way for a major Daesh offensive against Assad government forces and that killed 80 Syrian service personnel, but claimed that the attack was an accident with the intended target being Daesh terrorists.
In the statement, Central Command says that "Coalition forces believed they were striking a Da'esh fighting position that they had been tracking for a significant amount of time before the strike. The coalition airstrike was halted immediately when coalition forces were informed by Russian officials that it was possible the personnel and vehicles targeted were part of the Syrian military."

The statement, provided in full below, goes on to imply that Russia is somehow to blame for the egregious accident that killed the 80 Syrian soldiers because the US claims that it "had earlier informed Russian counterparts of the upcoming strike."

Update 3: Moon of Alabama provides some more background details:
Earlier today the Syrian Arab Army had announced that 1,000 fresh soldiers arrived in Deir Ezzor to liberate it from ISIS.

The U.S. planes came from Erbil in the Kurdish separatist region of Iraq.

The Syrian troops were holding positions on Jabal Tharda, a mountain that overlooks Deir Ezzor's airport. The mountain is now fully under Islamic State control. With this IS has firecontrol over the airport and the Deir Ezzor garrison as well as more than 150,000 civilians living under government protection are thereby cut off from supplies and any further reinforcements. Government forces have launched a counterattack to regain the vital position.

At the same time the Israeli air force attacked Syrian positions in the Golan height after al-Qaeda lobbed a mortar towards Israeli forces signaling the need for support. This has become the official format of Israeli support for al-Qaeda in the area with Israel claiming that the Syrian army is responsible for any and all attacks from the Syrian side no matter who initiates them.

Intense attacks from inside the surrounded, al-Qaeda occupied east-Aleppo on Syrian government positions were launched in the late afternoon local time. Fighting there is ongoing.

Earlier today artillery fire from Turkey hit Syrian army positions in Latakia.

The U.S. air attack on Deir Ezzor was certainly not a mistake but well planned.

It is a signal to Russia and Syria. I am not sure though what lunacy it is supposed to convey.
After the Daesh offensive enabled by American air support, the Syrian army has regained control over the positions lost to Daesh in the assault, including the military airport in Deir ez-Zor.

Update 4: Opinions are now coming in. Samir Aita, a member of the Syrian Democratic Forum opposition party, told Sputnik the attack should encourage the U.S. and Russia to enhance their collaboration on the negotiations/diplomatic front:
"Deir ez-Zor is a major element in the fight against Daesh. This 'error' bombing of forces courageously fighting against the terrorists could blow the common international efforts which gained momentum against Daesh. It blows the hope to see it soon being eliminated."
A member of the Saudi-backed HNC, Yahya al-Aridi, told Sputnik:
"It [Daesh] could utilize this particular strike in order to do something, taking advantage of that to improve its position. ... If there is real coordination on targeting Daesh and targeting terrorism sources, such things would not have happened. Why don't they expose the details of the agreement? And why not making it public? Everybody is perplexed about these things."

Update 5: Russia has convened an emergency UN Security Council meeting after the Americans' "accidental" act of war on the Syrian government, demanding a full and detailed explanation from Washington over its blatant aggression and denying that the Americans had informed the Russians of the airstrike (contra CENTCOM's statement).

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has told Ria Novosti that the Kremlin would demand an explanation at the UN this week.
"We are reaching a really terrifying conclusion for the whole world: that the White House is defending Islamic State. Now there can be no doubts about that. We demand a full and detailed explanation from Washington. That explanation must be given at the UN Security Council."
This appears to be what the Russians have been seeking this whole time: public exposure of US support for 'Islamic terrorists' - and thus its entire modus operandi in the Middle East and elsewhere - at the highest court in the land.

Update 6: Additional details about the American attack. The attack lasted 50 minutes, involved 4 planes and a drone:
Today, at 17:00, two US Air Force F-16 planes, two A-10 planes and an unmanned combat aerial vehicle carried out airstrikes on key Syrian army defense positions around six kilometers [3.7 miles] south of the Deir ez-Zor airport," reconciliation center head Vladimir Savchenko said.

The Russian operation commander contacted the Combined Joint Operations Center in Qatar after being notified by the Syrian side about the attack, he added, noting that the strikes then ended at 17:50. "After the strikes, Islamic States fighters started an offensive in the area. Heavy fighting continues. From 19:00, Russian Aerospace Forces planes are supporting Syrian army units by striking IS targets. A total of 10 strikes have been carried," he said.
Hmeimim group of internal Syrian opposition member Tarek Ahmad:
I have no doubts that the United States planned for this strike, it is a provocation. They want to test Russia and to put Moscow in a difficult situation to test its response, to see if the Russians would go and help the Syrian army in this situation. It was clear to everyone that the Syrian army was fighting against IS in Deir ez-Zor, not rebels.
Coalition strike on the governmental Syrian forces is an attempt to prevent the Syrian Army from advancing and taking control over Iraqi-Syrian border. ... The idea is to cut off Syria from Iraq and to create a buffer zone
Mais Krydee, another Hmeimim member: "Russia is always on the side of people in Syria. So we expect hard and tough steps and answer to these strikes from Russia. It must be a tough response. We need to make a ceasefire and to make it successful."

Update 7: The Obama administration released a statement offering a formal apology for the "unintentional loss of life". These people really cannot get any sicker. And a U.S. Defense official said that the strike "appears to be an intelligence failure." Geeze, let us count the ways...

Update 8: UN envoy Vitaly Churkin's statement and press conference at the UN is a must-watch:

Not only does he read excerpts from the secret ceasefire agreements, he points out the U.S.'s only justification for nulling the agreement - the alleged delays of humanitarian aid by the Syrian government - has been solved. Despite the rebels' refusal to demilitarize the Castello road, the first convoy to Aleppo is planned to take place Sunday morning: "A very complicated scheme was developed for Castello Road, so it could be used for humanitarian deliveries at first, and then, as other preparations are made, — it could be used for other traffic. These preparations are ready, and the first convoy should go tomorrow morning."

Some quotes from his talk:
"It is highly suspicious that the United States chose to conduct this particular air strike at this time," Russia's ambassador Vitaly Churkin said.

Churkin questioned why the US suddenly chose to "help" the Syrian army defend Deir ez-Zor after all these years, recalling how American forces just observed terrorists' movements and did "nothing when ISIS advanced on Palmyra."

"It was quite significant and not accidental that it happened just two days before the Russian-American arrangements were supposed to come into full force," Churkin added.
War harpy Samantha Power deflected any and all blame and responsibility for the massacre of Syrian troops, telling Churkin the UNSC meeting was a "stunt" and that she had no interest in hearing what he had to say. She then spent 15 minutes 'slamming Moscow's "uniquely hypocritical and cynical" attempt to make Washington explain itself at an urgent UNSC meeting'. Here's some of what she said:
Why are we having this meeting tonight? It is a diversion from what is happening on the ground. [SOTT: What's happening on the ground is that the U.S. violated the ceasefire, provided air support for Daesh, massacred Syrian troops, and potentially spoiled any chance of a solution to the Syrian war.] If you don't like what is happening on the ground then you distract. It is a magician's trick... we encourage the Russian Federation to have emergency meetings with the Assad regime and deliver them to this deal. [SOTT: Talk about a magician's trick! Power could slaughter a village of children, then turn and self-righteously blame the village for not providing clean water - when she was the one who poisoned the well. This woman is pathological.]

What Russia is alleging tonight is that somehow the United States is undermining the fighting against ISIL. [SOTT: That is exactly what is happening.] The Russian spokesperson even said that the United States might be complicit in this attack... [SOTT: You dropped the bombs, for God's sake!] This is not a game. [SOTT: Unbelievable.]

The Syrian regime that bills itself as the fighter against ISIL let the group grow and grow. ISIL took root and prospered right next to the Assad regime. [SOTT: While they were already fighting a war against Western-trained terrorists in the west of the country, and while the U.S. sat back while Daesh expanded in Iraq and Syria. Remember, the U.S. watched Daesh take Palmyra - they sat back and let it happen. The Syrians can't be blamed for that.]
Follow the link to read the rest of her drivel.

Update 9: New details of the ISIS offensive on Deir ez-Zor. It began 7 minutes after the U.S. airstrikes. A military source told Fars News Agency that "the air and ground assault were highly coordinated."

The Russian Foreign Ministry is softening their criticism ever so slightly. From a statement made today: "The actions of coalition pilots -- if they, as we hope, were not taken on an order from Washington -- are on the boundary between criminal negligence and connivance with Islamic State terrorists." Still giving the Americans a chance to save face... But others are still insistent the attack was intention, e.g., First Deputy Chairman of the Defense and Security Committee in Russia's Federation Council Franz Klintsevich:
"The US conducted airstrikes on government forces in Syria deliberately and thoughtfully. Any aerial operation is coordinated with commanders on the ground. In this case [the US] used information received from their intelligence units who infiltrated Daesh," he told RIA Novosti.
Iran chimes in: "This action, which coincided with a Daesh's offensive, indicates that the United States is supporting terrorist groups in Syria and is also a violation of Syria's sovereignty," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said in a statement obtained by Sputnik.

The Pentagon still insists they gave the Russians prior warning about the strike, but note how they phrase it: "The coalition air operations center earlier in the day notified Russian officials that coalition aircraft would be operating in that area, and no concerns were voiced at that time." What area, precisely? The Russians say they received no such warning.

Maria Zakharova responded to Samantha Power's emotional aphasia (she had said Churkin should be "embarrassed" for suggesting Washington is defending ISIS):
"Dear Samantha Power, in order to know the meaning of the word "embarrassed," I highly encourage you to travel to Syria and talk to the people there for yourself. And by that I do not mean the Al-Nusra Front militants, nor the moderate opposition, whose humanitarian situation Washington seems to be so worried about. I likewise am not referring to the Western warriors for justice for Syria. I'm referring to the actual people that continue to live there in spite of the bloody experiment that has been waged on their homeland for over six years, with active participation by Washington."

The Moscow representative went on to say she herself is in constant communication with people on the ground, which includes both opposition forces dispersed across Syrian towns, and the orphaned children left in the wake of the fighting there. "Let's go there together," she said, promising she would shoulder the expenses of Power's Syria trip. "Do say yes. Don't be frightened. Nobody will lay a finger on you in my presence. Unless, of course, your guys don't again 'mistakenly' strike the wrong target. You'll make lots of new memories. And find out what 'embarrassed' means in the process," the Moscow representative added.
Ouch. Churkin was polite: "What actions, I can not say now, but what I saw today, unfortunately, was very concerning, as my American colleague Samantha Power behaved very strange at the least. ... This is an unprecedented contempt." Joaquin Flores nailed it:
Samantha Power's statements at the UN were deplorable, a real 'low point' in the history of US diplomacy. Of course the US has long been an imperialist power, only before it was able to couch this as the fight against communism. But this total lack of refinement, tact, comportment, sophistication, composure, and basic diplomacy on the part of the US's Foreign Ministry and Press Secretary represents a new low in US history.
Indeed, in standard Russian form, the truth which 'everyone knows' - that the US backs ISIS - is revealed in stages, piece by piece, strategically timed, taking into consideration any number of variables. Western media critics, as well as geopolitical trainspotters and public analysts alike, have for some time been wondering if and when the other shoe would drop. The Russians have gotten pretty close a few times to finally letting the cat out of the bag, and so here it goes ...
Middle East analyst Hafsa Kara-Mustapha concurs:
"It was abundantly clear that the targets were the official Syrian military. The idea of dismissing it as a mere mistake is ridiculous."

"The idea that the [US] could actually violate the ceasefire and then complain of being the victims of a stunt is a hypocrisy beyond classical," the analyst said.


British Journalist: The Man Who Shot Me Now Works For The CIA

British reporter Anthony Loyd recounts in The Times (UK) his reaction when he saw his former Syrian "rebel" kidnapper Hakim Abu Jamal, aka Abdel Hakim al-Yaseen and Hakim Anza, celebrating a victory in northern Syria two weeks ago as part of a supposedly CIA-vetted "moderate" rebel group.

Loyd reports: