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US Assault Rifles Are Being Sold on Telegram in Syria

US-supplied weapons originally intended for moderate allies in Syria have ended up for sale on jihadist online forums in the country’s northern al Qaeda heartland.


In a remarkable snapshot of the disastrous outcomes and thwarted ambitions of the West’s six-year effort in Syria, an M16 assault rifle — whose serial number suggests it was originally supplied as part of a US-taxpayer-funded effort to defeat extremists in the region — was offered to CNN by a resident of the city of Idlib over the encrypted messaging app Telegram.
The vendor claimed the weapon originally belonged to one of the more prominent and costly failures by the US to help Syrian moderate rebels combat ISIS and other extremists. In a Telegram message exchange with CNN posing as a purchaser, the vendor said the weapon came from “Division 30” — part of an elaborate $41 million dollar effort to train and equip elite rebels to tackle jihadists.

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