Secretary of State John Kerry warned Thursday that if the United States does not act in Syria, extremists could hijack “moderate” opposition forces supported by the U.S and its allies.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Kerry was asked if rebel soldiers shown in a video obtained by the New York Times, in which they allegedly prepare to execute seven captured Syrian soldiers, would be considered U.S. allies.
“No. In fact, I believe that those men in those videos are disadvantaged by an American response to the chemical weapons used because it, in fact, empowers the moderate opposition,” Kerry responded.
The secretary said the administration is aware of close to a dozen “really bad” groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. But he said that U.S.-supported rebels go through a “vetting process,” warning of “jihadists who have been attracted by the chaos of Syria.”
“They are not part of the opposition that is being supported by our friends and ourselves,” Kerry said of the rebel soldiers in the video. “That is a moderate opposition. They condemn what has happened today.”
“I guarantee you if we turn our backs today, the picture we all saw in the paper today and the media of those people being shot, that will take place more because more extremists will be attracted to this, because they will be funded as the only alternative in order to take on Assad,” he added.
Watch below, courtesy of MSNBC: