(Updated: December 29, 2013 to Syrian rebels get arms and advice through secret command centre in Amman)
A secret operations command centre in Jordan, staffed by western and Arab military officials, has given vital support to rebels fighting on Syria’s southern front, providing them with weapons and tactical advice on attacking regime targets.
Rebel fighters and opposition members say the command centre, based in an intelligence headquarters building in Amman, channels vehicles, sniper rifles, mortars, heavy machine guns, small arms and ammunition to Free Syrian Army units – although it has stopped short of giving them much coveted anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles.
Islamist rebel units that are not part of the FSA are also key players in Dera’a, and opposition figures said these factions were also supplied directly with weapons from Gulf states and cash from private donors. Some of the direct funding and munitions supplies ends up in the hands of Jabhat al-Nusra, rebels in Dera’a said. Nusra, while small in terms of numbers in Dera’a, is well-equipped and cooperates with the FSA and other Islamist rebel factions in carrying out attacks against regime forces, rebels said.
What is clearly evident is that the United States again are backing the wrong elements in the Syrian rebellion – sending all of the support and logistics to the Muslim Brotherhood/Salafists Syrian Military Council backed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The FSA nationalistic command under Colonel Riad, which includes the majority of the opposition forces, does not receive any support – either military or logistical.
Financial support and arms flowing through the Supreme Military Council and the Syrian National Council (SNC) have been given to radical Islamic elements that have inserted themselves into the battle field. The true FSA has not received any of the support from the international community, instead they have been marginalized, even though they are the majority of the support on the ground.