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Syria rebel coalition cuts ties
with US-backed group

The Authenticity and Development Front announced that it suspended the New Syrian Army.

New Syrian Army fighters. (Twitter/New Syrian Army)

BEIRUT – A coalition of moderate Islamist groups has expelled from its ranks the New Syrian Army, a US-backed force fighting ISIS in the eastern desert stretches of Syria.

 

The Authenticity and Development Front announced overnight Wednesday that it suspended the New Syrian Army “as a result of past events that occurred” with the Western-supported faction, weeks after the Free Syrian Army-aligned group launched a failed offensive against ISIS in the Syrian-Iraqi border town of Al-Boukamal.

 

Although the rebel coalition did not specify the specific reasons it was angered by the New Syrian Army, it hinted that it was not happy with the parameters of Washington’s support for the fighting force.

 

“We were not seduced by any kind of support or mouthwatering privileges from anyone [and did not] give up our legitimate or national constants,” the Authenticity and Development Front declared in an oblique statement.

 

It announced that the New Syrian Army’s actions “do not fit our attitude,” adding that “we no longer have any ties with it.”

 

The Authenticity and Development Front further explained that all New Syrian Army officers and members were suspended from the coalition, and if they want to rejoin it they must “apply for an enrollment request.”

 

While the statement repudiated the US-backed New Syrian Army, the rebel alliance stressed that it would not hesitate to “cooperate with serious countries” aiming to help their efforts in eastern Syria.

 

It added, however, that any partnership with a foreign power must be a “genuine partnership” in “accordance with legitimate and national constants,” an implicit reference to rebel goals, including the overthrow of the Syrian regime.

 

The New Syrian Army on June 28 launched a campaign to seize Al-Boukamal, which lies across from the Iraqi border town of Al-Qaim deep behind ISIS’s main frontlines in eastern Syria, however the group was beat back by the jihadists within a day.

 

In the days following the New Syrian Army’s defeat at the hands of ISIS, reports emerged that the US pulled back support for the stillborn offensive, with The Washington Post reporting that coalition jets were redeployed away from the Al-Boukamal fighting front.

 

“Aircraft assigned to provide cover for the offensive… were ordered in the middle of the operation to leave the area and head instead to the outskirts of Fallujah,” US officials told the newspaper.

 

Authenticity and Development Front leader Khaled al-Hamad, for his part, indirectly blasted Washington over the Al-Boukamal battle, saying that the “international community has no real intention” to battle ISIS or overthrow the Bashar al-Assad government.

 

NOW's English news desk editor Albin Szakola (@AlbinSzakola) wrote this report. Amin Nasr translated Arabic-language material. 

New Syrian Army fighters. (Twitter/New Syrian Army)

We were not seduced by any kind of support or mouthwatering privileges from anyone [and did not] give up our legitimate or national constants.