Video released by a so-called “moderate” anti-government faction known as Jaish al-Izzah, or “Army of Glory,” in the past two weeks give a rare and violent look inside the Syrian Civil War, depicting what the rebel group says are successful attacks by shoulder-fired missiles against soldiers and vehicles of the Syrian armed forces — the government military fighting to defend the regime of President Bashir al-Assad.
Before viewing the videos, be warned — they depict actual scenes of war, and could prove disturbing — as in the following video posted on the Jaish al-Izzah Twitter account, which according to the group shows rebels firing a missile directly at a platoon of Syrian government fighters.
Jaish al-Izzah, sometimes spelled “al-Ezzah” or referred to as al-Ezzah Army, are one of the dozens of rebel factions that have been “vetted” by the United States Central Intelligence Agency and classified by the U.S. administration of President Barack Obama as “moderate.”
Groups determined to be “moderate” then receive training and arms from the U.S., including the shoulder-fired, wire-guided TOW missiles, which appear to the missiles fired by Jaish al-Izzah rebels in the videos on this page.
The actual missiles are often supplied by Saudi Arabia, but the U.S. must give the green light before weapons are transferred to the Syrian rebels.
In the following video, rebels take aim at what they said when they posted the video on October 17 was a Syrian Government armored vehicle — a vehicle which fails to withstand the direct hit by the missile.
But the “vetting” process has often been subject to skepticism and even ridicule, including from within the U.S intelligence community itself.
“We’re completely out of our league,” one CIA vetting expert told Newsweek magazine in 2014. “To be really honest, very few people know how to vet well. It’s a very specialized skill. It’s extremely difficult to do well.”
In Syria’s pro-government media, the “moderate” rebel groups trained and armed by the United States are known by the nickname, “Obama’s Cannibals.”
The chaos of the Syrian Civil War makes the process of determining which groups are actually “moderate” even more difficult.
In the following video, the same rebel group unleashes a missile directly at a group of pro-Assad troops who are on foot, according to the video’s description from October 16.
The videos were reportedly shot in Syria’s embattled Hama province, where more than 100,000 civilians have been displaced in the fighting between government forces and the numerous rebel factions.
According to a report by the Turkish Tasnim News Agency, Syrian government forces retook much of Hama province from the rebels earlier in October, but as the videos appear to show, resistance from the “moderate” groups armed with U.S. weapons remains fierce.