President Trump’s Special Envoy to Syria Joel Rayburn reportedly met Monday in Istanbul with a delegation that included a high-ranking pro-Turkish Syrian rebel leader who endorsed al-Qaida-linked rebels.
A photo posted by the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Force, known by the Arabic acronym ETILAF, shows the group’s former president, Anas al-Abdeh, attending the meeting. Al-Abdeh is not named in the post, but he appears in the upper left corner of the photo.
“They are all in the same trench,” Al-Abdeh said in 2016 about the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the al-Qaida-linked Al Nusra Front. “We cannot differentiate between fighters …”
The State Department did not respond to a request for comment about al-Abdeh’s presence at the meeting.
This week’s Istanbul gathering focused on developments in Syria’s Idlib province, a statement on ETILAF’s website said. This meeting otherwise went unreported.