Are Manned U.S. Helicopters Flying In Syria?
By Moon Of Alabama
September 08, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" -
A NYT piece on the failure if the "Division
30" Pentagon mercenaries in Syria and their coming Version 2
includes some interesting bits (in bold). The general line of
the piece is that the failure of the first group sent in does not
lead to significant changes but to attempts to create more of the
same. That is not really new but the usual Pentagon mindset.
Interesting though are some details:
The proposed changes come after a Syrian
affiliate of Al Qaeda attacked, in late July, many of the first
54 Syrian graduates of the military’s training program and the
rebel unit they came from.
The rebels were ill-prepared for an enemy attack and were sent
back into Syria in too small numbers. They had no local
support from the population and had poor intelligence
about their foes.
Predator drones quickly rushed to help the
Division 30 fighters once they came under attack from the Nusra
Front, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, killing dozens of the
attackers, American officials said.
While most of the fighters were Sunni Arabs, Nadim Hassan,
an ethnic Turkmen whom few people had heard of
before, was named as its leader, a decision
many rebels felt had been imposed by the Turkish
The trainees were to get good weapons and monthly
salaries ranging from $225 for soldiers to $350 for officers,
Mr. Freiji said.
on July 30, Mr. Hassan, the group’s leader, and another
commander, Farhan Jassem, entered Syria to meet with
Nusra Front leaders and assure them that the
American-trained force intended to fight only the Islamic State,
Soon after entering Syria, the two men and six others were
promptly captured by the Nusra Front. They are still being held.
The next day, the Nusra Front attacked
Division 30’s base in the village of Mariameen in northwestern
A black-and-white video on his phone, apparently shot by an
American drone, showed dozens of fighters he said were from the
Nusra Front approaching the base before a large blast hit them,
followed by automatic fire from the sky.
The U.S. paid mercenaries have no local backing.
Their commander is under Turkish control and was friendly with
al-Qaeda leaders but is now their hostage. Still later the Division
called al-Qaeda their "brothers". Somehow all of that does not
fit to the "idealistic moderate Syrian rebels" propaganda language
U.S. officials use to describe them.
But the most curious issue in the piece is the
description of the "drone" attack that helped to fend off attacking
Nusra fighters. No drone I am aware of and certainly not the
"Predator" are equipped with automatic weapons like machine guns.
The Drones carry fire-and-forget missiles or bombs but no drone has
the necessarily heavy rotating tower and swiveling weapon holder
that would allow the use of automatic weapons. "Automatic fire from
the sky" as the reporter describes from the video he has seen can
only have come from manned helicopters. Or is there some other
explanation that I miss?
If there were helicopters who's birds were these?
U.S. or Turkish? Are there more of these flying over Syria and to
what purpose? And what would be the Search & Rescue assets that
could be used should such a bird come down involuntarily?
Something we are not told about is happening at
the Turkish-Syrian border. Is that the reason why the Russians,
U.S. efforts to hinder them,
prepare air fields for the delivery of new air assets to the