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Turkey Gives American Weapons to al-Qaeda

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Rebel fighters pose with the remains of a downed regime warplane near the jihadist-held town of Khan Sheikhun in the south of Idlib province August 14, 2019. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, 'The pilot has been taken prisoner" and is in the hands of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, formerly Jabhat al-Nusra). The Britain-based monitor said that it was the first such downing of a regime plane since the aerial campaign of the jihadist-run bastion began in late April. (Photo: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP via Getty Images)
Rebel fighters pose with the remains of a downed regime warplane near the jihadist-held town of Khan Sheikhun in the south of Idlib province August 14, 2019. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, ‘The pilot has been taken prisoner’ and is in the hands of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, formerly Jabhat al-Nusra). The Britain-based monitor said that it was the first such downing of a regime plane since the aerial campaign of the jihadist-run bastion began in late April. (Photo: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite the recent U.S. support for Turkey’s policies in northern Syria, Russian Today (RT) is reporting that Turkey is giving American anti-aircraft weapons to the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra).

In addition, Turkey is supplying these jihadis with Turkish military uniforms to avoid detection.

At the same time, the Trump administration is voicing support for Turkish efforts in Syria. As noted by Seth Franzman in The Jerusalem Post,

“US envoy James Jeffrey landed in Turkey on Tuesday, where he commemorated Turkey’s ‘martyrs’ who had been killed by the Syrian regime, and pledged support for Ankara.

“Jeffrey and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been seeking to pivot the US back to a Turkey-first foreign policy in regards to Syria, to slowly jettison parts of what they see as the problematic Kurdish region of eastern Syria and engage in big power politics to confront the Russians and Iranians.”

Will that strategy work? And is it the best strategy?

Listen to Clarion Project’s Editor Meira Svirsky and Clarion’s Arab Affairs Analyst and Shillman Fellow Ran Meir discuss these and other developments having to do with the U.S. in the Middle East:

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