If he were an extremist, he would have eaten the liver too. That quote comes from Dan Layman, the spokesman for the Syrian Support Group.
The Syrian Support Group, a US-based nonprofit that is the only organization the Obama administration has authorized to hand out nonlethal US-funded supplies to the rebels, insists it keeps track of who’s receiving this assistance based on handwritten receipts provided by rebel commanders in the field.
On April 30, the Syrian Support Group began receiving State Department contracts, worth about $12 million so far, to deliver supplies—including MREs, combat casualty bags, and surgical equipment—directly to Syria’s Supreme Military Council.
This spring, one militia leader affiliated with the FSA—his brigade has since been kicked out—was filmed eating a dead soldier’s heart. “This stuff happens rarely, but it’s unfortunate,” Layman says. “With the guy who was eating a heart, he was part of a moderate faction…We work with Idriss and let him know that he needs to prevent these things.”
As Layman no doubt knows, Idriss has no control or ability to prevent these things. Also the guy eating the heart claimed he was actually eating a lung.
Abu Sakkar, the heart/lung eater, was with the Farouq Brigades which ethnically cleansed the Christians of Homs and made Christians elsewhere pay Jizya protection money.
The Institute of War, whose Elizabeth O’Bagy recently made the news, called the Farouq Brigades “moderately Islamist”. I guess that’s what is meant by a moderate faction.
The ‘kicking out’ part is even more ambiguous. Despite the brigade name, no one claims to know who is who exactly and which groups really are FB. As usual there were claims that Abu Sakkar was heading up some sort of a rogue splinter group.
Meanwhile here’s what General Idriss actually had to say after the video went public.
I asked the Free Syrian Army’s chief of staff, Gen Salim Idris, why Abu Sakkar hadn’t been arrested. His answer tells you a lot about the reality of how the war is being fought on the rebel side.
“We condemn what he did,” said the general. “But why do our friends in the West focus on this when thousands are dying? We are a revolution not a structured army. If we were, we would have expelled Abu Sakkar. But he commands his own battalion, which he raised with his own money. Is the West asking me now to fight Abu Sakkar and force him out of the revolution? I beg for some understanding here.”
Right. Moderate. Very.