NEW YORK — While the Obama administration works to coordinate aid to the Syrian rebels, moderate and Islamic Syrian rebels reportedly just signed a first-of-its-kind non-aggression pact with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, according to a monitoring group.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday the truce was forged between both moderate and Islamic Syrian rebels and ISIS in Hajar al-Aswad, a Syrian city in the Darayya District that was previously the scene of intense clashes.
According to the observatory group, “the two parties will respect a truce until a final solution is found and they promise not to attack each other because they consider the principal enemy to be the Nussayri regime” of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.
The deal was first reported by Arabic news media outlets and by Agence France Presse.
The Huffington Post noted some sources say signatories to the truce with ISIS include a U.S. ally linked to the Free Syrian Army.
Brookings Institution’s Doha Center fellow Charles Lister cited a report from the anti-Assad Orient Net website suggesting the U.S.-backed Syrian Revolutionary Front was part of the truce deal with ISIS.
Last week, Obama called for strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria as well as a renewed effort to arm the so-called moderate Syrian rebels.
House lawmakers are discussing the option of authorizing up to $4 billion in aid to Syrian rebels.
WND last week quoted a senior Jordanian security official warning the Kingdom of Jordan is deeply concerned about the Obama administration’s renewed plan to train “moderate” rebels in Syria, believing the Syrian rebels are mostly extremists who espouse radical al-Qaida-like ideology.
The official said Obama’s decision to fight ISIS and at the same time arm Syrian rebels was made during compromise with Saudi Arabia in exchange for Saudi help in scaling back the ISIS threat.
The security official said Jordan’s estimation is that the Free Syrian Army is no longer a cohesive fighting unit.
And the Jordanian kingdom fears that with U.S. acquiescence, Saudi Arabia will train and arm the al-Nusra front in Syria. Al-Nusra is allied with al-Qaida, although some al-Nusra militants have fought factional conflicts with ISIS.
The Jordanian official warned that al-Nusra shares the same values as ISIS and ultimately seeks an Islamic caliphate utilizing the tactics of brutal jihad.
Word of the Saudis helping to combat ISIS is particularly poignant since WND reported in June that, according to Jordanian and Syrian regime sources, Saudi Arabia has been arming ISIS and that the Saudis are a driving force in supporting the al-Qaida-linked group.
Jordan’s concern over the arming of Syrian rebels represents a major turnabout. Previously, Jordan reportedly aided the U.S. and other Western countries in arming the Syrian rebels.
In February 2012, WND was first to report the U.S., Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region.
The report has since been corroborated by numerous other media accounts.
Last March, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported Americans were training Syrian rebels in Jordan.
Quoting what it said were training participants and organizers, Der Spiegel reported it was not clear whether the Americans worked for private firms or were with the U.S. Army, but the magazine said some organizers wore uniforms.
The training in Jordan reportedly focused on use of anti-tank weaponry.
The German magazine reported some 200 men received the training over the previous three months amid U.S. plans to train a total of 1,200 members of the Free Syrian Army in two camps in the south and the east of Jordan.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper also reported last March that U.S. trainers were aiding Syrian rebels in Jordan along with British and French instructors.
Reuters reported a spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department declined immediate comment on the German magazine’s report. The French foreign ministry and Britain’s foreign and defense ministries also would not comment to Reuters.
Jordanian officials are now concerned the sectarian violence in Iraq and Syria will spill over into their own country as well.
ISIS previously posted a video on YouTube threatening to move on Jordan and “slaughter” King Abdullah, a leader they view as an enemy of Islam.
With additional reporting by Joshua Klein.