The al Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front killed at least 11 U.S.-backed fighters in Syria’s northern Aleppo province Friday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports. The attack took place after al-Nusra militants abducted eight fighters from Division 30.
“Al-Nusra attacked at dawn the headquarters of Division 30, near the town of Azaz in the northern province of Aleppo,” SOHR, based in Britain, said in a statement.
Division 30 sent at least 54 members into Syria in mid-July as a part of a “persisting foreign-backed scheme to force the overthrow of the government of President Bashar al-Assad,” Iran's Press TV reported. (Iran is backing Assad.) The fighters were equipped with 30 U.S.-made all-terrain vehicles loaded with ammunition and weapons, according to the Iranian channel.
The Washington Post earlier reported that Nadim al-Hassan, commander of U.S.-backed Division 30, had been captured by al Qaeda militants north of Aleppo. Unlike the Iranian news media, which call Division 30 a "terrorist group," the U.S. newspaper calls it a “Syrian rebel group.”
A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, confirmed that the group was backed by the U.S. “I can tell you that the New Syrian Force personnel that are a part of our training program are all present and accounted for and none have been detained or captured.”