U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group May Disband

The Syrian rebel brigade Harakat al-Hazm, once the most favored of U.S.-backed militias, may be disbanding to to join a larger Islamist alliance frowned on by Washington, according to an online statement posted by activists, but Hazm commanders were unavailable to confirm the posting. The 4,000-strong brigade had seen an increasing number of defections in the face of repeated attacks from al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. This weekend the brigade suffered dozens of casualties from the fighting with the jihadists, and its leaders say that to avoid further bloodshed they had no choice but to dissolve. There is also considerable ill-feeling in Hazm ranks toward the Obama administration, which had reduced dramatically the funding of the brigade.