Nusra Abducts U.S.-Trained Rebel Leader

The Nusra Front—an affiliate of al Qaeda operating in Syria—has abducted the leader of a U.S.-backed Syrian group called Division 30, along with seven other fighters who completed a U.S. training course designed to “train and equip” moderate rebels opposed to ISIS. The Daily Beast reported this month that fewer than 100 rebels have completed the course thus far, meaning the abduction makes a big dent in the number of U.S.-trained fighters. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the abduction occurred as the men were returning from a meeting with other rebel factions in Aleppo province. The meeting in Azaz “was specifically to coordinate with other rebel groups on the ground to begin a military operation against the Islamic State group in northeastern Aleppo province,” the observatory added. Rami Abdul Rahman, of the Syrian Observatory, told The Daily Beast that eight fighters were snatched Wednesday at a checkpoint on a road that led to Zahart al Malkia, a city about 25 miles northeast of Homs. According to witnesses, the fighters were leaving a meeting with their fellow fighters when they were taken by Nusra, Abdul Rahman said.