The U.S. State Department deemed Jabhat Fateh al-Sham “not [a] priority” to the U.S. war in Syria on Thursday, failing to admit just how dangerous the Syrian offshoot of al-Qaeda is. The State Department's assessment of al-Sham has not received nearly as much press coverage as it deserves, as the terrorist group is a major player within the Syrian civil war. In fact, Syrian rebel groups including al-Sham have increased activity in Western Aleppo this week, killing at least 3 Syrian civilians and wounding up to 21 during a humanitarian pause led by the Russians and Assad.

This all comes at a time of suspense between the U.S. and Russia in Syria, as the Americans struck and killed 62 Syrian soldiers in late September.

U.S. support for al-Sham and other Jihadist groups Syria

The truth is that the U.S. hasn't considered Jabhat Fateh al-Sham -- or any other Sunni extremist groups in Syria for that matter -- a “priority” since the civil war began in 2011. Thanks to great reporting done by investigative journalists, we know that the CIA deliberately armed al-Sham with anti aircraft missiles during the early stages of the Syrian war.

It was only in January 2016, 5 years after the war began, that the U.S. seemed al-Sham a terrorist organization. To make matters worse, recent reports from Syria show that the U.S. may have began arming al-Sham again once they changed their from al-Nusra to dissociate themselves from al-Qaeda. It is also a well known fact that U.S. allies such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia openly arm al-Sham and other Sunni groups which funnel money and arms to radical organizations in Syria.

Another U.S.-backed group by the name of Nour al-Din al-Zenki recently beheaded a 12-year old boy in Syria. The United States has supplied al-Zenki with BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles to fight against the Assad regime.

Funding terrorism is an American pastime

The dangerous Obama / Clinton strategy of arming rebels like al-Sham on the ground in Syria -- and otheral-Qaeda linked rebels in Libya in 2011 to topple the sovereign government of Muammar Gaddafi -- is not a foreign concept withinU.S.

history. This policy was most famously used in the Middle East in 1979, when U.S. President Jimmy Carter and national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski -- hoping to draw the Soviets into “their Vietnam” -- armed Islamic radicals in Afghanistan known as the Mujahideen to the tune of over $500 million annually in the late 1980’s. The Mujahideen went on to fight a civil war with American weapons which led to creation of both al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Osama Bin Laden, who would later attack the U.S. on September 11, 2001, was a prominent member of the Afghan Mujahideen.

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