A group of militants that receives training from the US military to fight the Syrian government has called al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front terrorists “brothers.”
In a statement that has appeared on social media, the US-backed group, which goes by the name “Division 30,” declared that its rival al-Nusra Front has released seven of its members whom the al-Qaeda-affiliated group had kidnapped in northern Syria during fighting back in July.
In telltale wording, the group said in the statement, “Seven Division 30 fighters who were being held by the brothers in al-Nusra Front have been freed.”
“We welcome this noble initiative and urge the brothers of Al-Nusra and hope that they will release in the coming hours the group’s commander and other fighters,” the statement – stamped by the so-called Division 30 – further read.
Shedding family blood
Back on July 31, reports emerged that al-Nusra militants had attacked the headquarters of the US-trained militant group in Syria’s northern Aleppo Province, killing at least 11 of them.
The attack came a day after the abduction by al-Nusra of members of the so-called Division 30.
Further clashes reportedly erupted between the rival groups following the July 31 assault.
Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants gather around a tank on a square in the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib, March 28, 2015. (© AFP)
Covering up fratricide
The Friday statement by “Division 30” came despite the fact that the US military had earlier rejected reports that any members of the group had been killed or abducted.
Back then, US Defense Department spokeswoman Commander Elisa Smith said, “I can confirm that there have been no New Syrian Force personnel captured or detained.”
“New Syrian Force” is the terminology Washington uses to refer to the Syria-based militants vetted by the US military to purportedly exclude radical elements. The force has passed a military training course offered by American troops.
Reports said at least 54 members of Division 30 slipped into Syria in mid-July, equipped with 30 US-made all-terrain vehicles loaded with weapons and ammunition.
Syria has been dealing with a massive foreign-sponsored militancy for the past four years. The conflict has reportedly killed an estimated 230,000 people so far, including nearly 11,500 children.