Islamic State Leader Omar al-Shishani Fought Under U.S. Umbrella as Late as 2013

Omar the Chechen fought under U.S. command structure in Syria.

This article first appeared at Levant Report and AntiWar.com.

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Abu Omar al-Shishani is now widely reported to be Islamic State’s chief of military operations.
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Burning helicopter: the rebel siege of the government Menagh Airbase was at its most intense during Spring and Summer 2013.
Massive suicide car bombing at Menagh, Summer of 2013: foreign fighters and their extreme tactics ensured victory for the FSA and Islamic State of Iraq and Sham.
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Omar the Chechen (center) is interviewed by Al Jazeera after a joint FSA/ISIS operation on Aug. 6, 2013. Photo circulated on jihadi social media accounts.
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The rebel victory at Menagh was key to opening a permanent rebel corridor from Turkey into Northern Syria.

McClatchy News: “The problem was that the American-backed colonel had been filmed celebrating his men’s joint victory with al Qaida-affiliated fighters, creating a public relations nightmare for the Obama administration…”

Below: the unedited raw video hosted on a Syrian opposition account. It was uploaded August 6, 2013.
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Left: Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford with FSA Col. Okaidi. Right: FSA Col. Okaidi with ISIS emir Abu Jandal — part of Omar the Chechen’s group of fighters at Menagh Airbase.
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The State Department’s top FSA officer on the ground exercised battlefield command over ISIS units in 2013. In this Aug.6, 2013 victory speech footage, an ISIS fighter (to Okaidi’s left) is presented as Okaidi’s number two man. In separate footage from the same day the same man is seen claiming victory on behalf of ISIS head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

New York Times: “After the battle, Col. Abdul Jabbar al-Okaidi, the head of the United States-backed opposition’s Aleppo military council, appeared in a video alongside Abu Jandal, a leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.”

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The U.S. State Dept.’s own numbers: read the full report HERE at STATE.GOV
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CNN/screenshot: Col. Okaidi remains a media darling of the West, appearing on CNN as recently as 2015 — this even after he was caught commanding ISIS units on the Syrian battlefield.
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Freelance writer: Middle East, Syria, Syrian Christians, U.S. Policy. Marine veteran, 5 years travel & study in Syria, Egypt

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