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Did Daesh get Toyotas from vetted FSA groups' American supplies?

Last week, officials from the Terror Financing unit of the Treasury Department called for an investigation into how so many Toyota Hilux pickups and Land Cruisers ended up in Daesh-held Syria. And though nothing has so far been corroborated, the reigning theory from several Western media outlets this week traces the trucks back to a shipment by US officials to vetted Free Syrian Army factions back in 2014.

A report last year from Public Radio International (PRI) quoted Oubai Shahanbar, back then a Washington-based advisor to the Syrian National Coalition and a former Pentagon analyst, who said the trucks were at the top of rebel groups' wish lists from their American benefactors.

"Specific equipment like the Toyota Hiluxes are what we refer to as force enablers for the moderate opposition forces on the ground," the analyst told the radio station, adding the trucks as well as other non-lethal aid would soon be funneled to the US-backed groups by US officials.

Plenty of US equipment meant for these rebel groups has made it into the wrong hands, so the theory isn't unreasonable. Just last month, some 70 fighters from the US train and equip program handed over their American weapons to al-Qaeda affiliates in northern Syria. In the wake of the abandonment of the $500 milllion program earlier this week, the theory is a nail in its coffin.

The US wasn't the only one supplying vehicles like this. According to a 2013 report by The Independent, the UK sent 8 million British pounds (~$12) of non-lethal aid to opposition groups in Syria, including five 4x4 vehicles.

Meanwhile, Toyota released a statement on ABC, claiming it was unaware how its vehicles had made it to Syria's battlefield into Daesh hands, as company policy prohibits the sale of cars to terrorist groups.

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Title Annotation:Free Syrian Army
Publication:Albawaba.com
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Oct 12, 2015
Words:314
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