Officials with Syrian rebel battalions that receive covert backing from one arm of the U.S. government told BuzzFeed News that they recently began fighting rival rebels supported by another arm of the U.S. government. . . . A Syrian rebel group that the CIA has been arming in collusion with other governments came under attack from the Kurdish YPG that the Pentagon has armed to fight ISIS.Daniel Larison explains:
U.S. support for one group is now directly undermining its effort to support another, and that’s happening because the U.S. is pursuing two separate and often contradictory goals in Syria at the same time. Remember this the next time you hear a Syria hawk on the campaign trail demand that the U.S. sink even deeper into the morass of Syria’s civil war.
The U.S. is lending support to anti-regime rebels to maintain the fiction of backing a “moderate” opposition, and it is backing the YPG as part of the war against ISIS, which is the administration’s real priority. Given the fractious nature of anti-regime forces and the multi-sided nature of the civil war, it was probably inevitable that different U.S.-backed groups would end up fighting each other. Arming these groups doesn’t provide Washington with any influence or control over how they use the weapons the U.S. provides, and each one has its own agenda and priorities.