Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Free Syrian Army (FSA)

Malaise over Syria, again?

Sahar Mandour, columnist for Lebanon daily As-Safir and novelist, wrote this September 16, 2013:

Up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, we took a clear position against [imperialist preemptive] war and against all kinds of dictatorships: “No to war (la li-al-harb), No to dictators  (la li-al-dictatoriyat)”.

Today, no such simple slogan is possible. That slogan is old. We need new positions, new slogans. We need to find our way out of the confusion of today.

 Vijay Prashad posted this Sept. 21, 2013 on Jadaliyya
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[A Syrian child sits, in a neighbouring village to Kafr Nabuda, in the Idlib province countryside, Syria, 19 September 2013. Image via Associated Press]
A Syrian child sits, in a neighboring village to Kafr Nabuda, in the Idlib province countryside, Syria, 19 September 2013. (Image via Associated Press)

Death and displacement has begun to define Syria.

The numbers are suffocating. One cannot keep up with them. For the displaced, now near 7 million, relief cannot come fast enough–and in fact does not seem to come at all for many.

Of the dead, little can be said. The UN team now confirms the use of sarin gas in the rocket attacks on Ghouta, east of Damascus. It was not in the team’s mandate to say who fired the rockets. Whether it was the Assad regime itself or rogue elements, or (an unlikely scenario) the rebels, it is devastating. The number of dead in that attack is around one thousand, a sizable fraction of the hundred thousand dead so far in this seemingly unending war.

The rebellion, which began in Dar‘a as a peaceful demonstration against an autocratic regime, morphed largely due to the intransigence and the violence of the Assad system into a fissiparous brutality encaging the democratic core that remains and shrinks.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) crosses swords with Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) as much as it does against the regime.

Al-Nusra and ISIS fight each other, as both are fired upon by the Kurdish popular protection committees (the YPG).

Pockets of northern and eastern Syria are in the hands of al-Nusra and ISIS to the consternation of their local populations and of the less Islamist parts of the rebellion. In Eastern Ghouta, over the summer, on the other hand, sections of the Free Syrian Army united with a variety of groups including al-Farouq Omar Battalion, the Lions of Allah, the Islam Battalion, al-Bara‘ Battalion, Islam’s Monotheism Battalion–but most starkly Jabhat al-Nusra. Unity in some places, seemingly under the hegemony of the Islamists, but disunity elsewhere.

In other parts of Syria, the Free Syrian Army seems in charge, and yet in other parts matters remain in the hands of what Yasser Munif calls the “peaceful activists.”

During a 2-month trip to northern Syria, Munif went to Manbij, near Aleppo. What he saw there is that the people, under the leadership of the peaceful activists, fought off the attempt by the ISIS to take charge of the city. As he describes it:

Ahrar al-Sham and al-Nusra (which became the Islamic State later) entered the city and tried to control it. They tried to do so several times since then, but they failed. They try to intimidate the population by patrolling the city. They tried to take over the mills 3 times but failed. They were very much against the revolutionary court but were not able to close it.

The Ahrar al-Sham and al-Nusra also tried to close several newspapers but were not successful. They tried to take over mosques but the religious establishment in the city prevented them. Most recently, the revolutionary council sent a threatening message to the ISIS because they assassinated the imam of the grand mosque who did not want the ISIS to take over his mosque. The message was clear: either they (ISIS) leave the city or they will be expelled by force. They are almost not present in the city anymore.

Such reports are heartening, but not too common.

In Raqqa, Munif notes, the ISIS has established an emirate, although even here there are regular demonstrations against their rule. “Even in Jarablous where the entire revolutionary council was arrested and put in the ISIS prison,” Munif said, “a week ago there was an uprising in the city and people are becoming very critical of the practices of the the ISIS. They want them to leave the city.”

If what Munif reports were general across Syria, then the anxiety that one senses amongst friends would not be so grave.

The rebels are in disarray. The most recent thrust by the ISIS in northern Syria, given the name of “Expunging Filth,” has either expelled or absorbed the FSA units in Raqqa, with on-going fierce fighting in Tabqa.

The border town of A‘zaz is in ISIS hands, and the Turks have closed the border. The embers of the 2011 revolution seem to be smothered by the ISIS in large sections of northern Syria.

On the ground, Saudi Arabia and Gulf Arab money and personnel have redefined the nature of the rebellion.

In the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) matters are not good.

Over 3 years, the SNC has been unable to draft a clear and patriotic program for Syria. Its absence is not a sign of lack of imagination, but of the subordination of the SNC to the petty fights amongst their Gulf Arab benefactors.

The SNC stumbled when it essentially allowed a palace coup to remove Mo‘az al-Khatib from his post. After much infighting, the SNC finally appointed Ahmad Saleh Touma as its prime minister. Ghassan Hitto resigned because he was seen to be too close to the tarnished star of Qatar. The marks of Gulf Arab infighting are all over the Coalition, much to its discredit.

The rebels are in disarray, and despite Gilbert Achcar’s effusions that they must alone overthrow Assad, do not seem capable of it. The rebels are not a homogeneous force, and amongst them are sections of those whose ideology terrifies others amongst them.

This disunity, as Munif notes, is real, and it has no objective basis for reversal. If it is the case that sections of the ISIS are from outside Syria, then there is not even the cord of Syrian nationalism to unite them against Assad.

One section wants a more democratic Syria, while the other wants an emirate of Syria: the lines that divide them, if we are to be honest with the facts, are deeper than any subjective hatred of Asad can bridge.

It is from a realization of this impasse that perhaps we see this conclusion: if the rebels are stuck, then the tonic that might work is a US military strike.

No one person amongst us likes this, but if we assume that it is the only thing that can break the stalemate, then it seems to be a terrible necessity.

Either the US strikes to help oxygenate the rebellion or the rebellion will linger on in a wounded state, with the ISIS taking the upper hand as its own sense of its inevitable victory overshadows the despondency of the “peaceful activists.” That is the framework that seems to lead many friends and comrades into a hopeless support for a US military intervention.

But the West has no intention of intervention in a fashion great enough to topple or wound Asad. Obama said he would strike the Asad regime with Tomahawk missiles, which the US military said would have “limited tactical effect.”

On 10 September 2013, Obama said, “I don’t think we should remove another dictator with force.

What the United States would provide is a face-saving moral strike, even after the conclusive UN report from 16 September that establishes that sarin was used in Ghouta. This will not assist the rebels. The West is not going to act in the way imagined.

To say that the rebels are in disarray, with little capability to overthrow the Asad regime alone, to say that the United States is not interested (for reasons that have to do with Tel Aviv as well) in overthrowing Asad–to say all that is not to end up with nothing. It is not to end up with the status quo, giving the Asad regime free reign to crush the rebels and to end the hopes of a new Syria. This is not the way forward.

Other paths are open, if we allow ourselves to push for them. Other social forces need to be brought to bear on the Syrian catatonia.

During 2012, an unlikely group of regional players—Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey—formed the Syria Contact Group in order to provide muscle for a defanged UN Envoy Kofi Annan.

Before they could get going, the United States and Russia decided to side-line them, and moved the discussion to Spain for bilateral talks on Syria. The message was that only the United States and Russia has the authority to set the agenda for Syria. Not even the Syrians.

The Syria Contact Group folded not long after, suffocated by this Cold War attitude and by the internecine problems amongst the members. But new regional potential are available:

1. Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, and Jordan are weighted down by the refugee crisis.

The creation of a  Regional Syrian Refugee Crisis Team would allow these countries to create a common platform to deal with the humanitarian relief problems that bedevil them all. Recognizing the need for coordination, the United Nations has appointed Nigel Fisher as the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator.

Now Fisher and the 4 regional countries need to create a modus vivendi to deal with the severe crisis for each of these countries. But Fisher’s ambit is largely going to be on relief.

A four-country conference would allow these countries to move from coordination around relief to a consideration of the political root of the refugee crisis.

2. Lebanon, Algeria, Egypt, and Iraq voted against the Gulf Arab proposal at the Arab League meeting to give backing to the US strike. These countries need to now push for a regional solution based on their refusal to allow an armed strike. Pressure needs to come on them to involve themselves as a bloc to push the Asad regime and the rebels to recognize that there is no path for either toward total victory.

Negotiation is the only way.

3. Iran has a new leadership, which has reached out to its immediate neighbors seeking a new foundation for relations. The new head of government Hasan Rouhani has said that Iran would welcome any elected Syrian leader. This can, of course, mean anything. After all Bashar al-Asad is technically an elected leader. But it indicates that there is a sense in Iran that the legitimacy of Asad is deeply compromised and that if there were another election he might not want to put himself forward for the sake of Syria.

This is a productive gesture, and it could mean an Iranian feint to save Syria from destruction. In the Obama-Rouhani letters, there is apparently a sentiment that Iran might be brought to the table to build confidence for Geneva 2. Iran might want to insist that that table include Saudi Arabia, and the immediate neighbors of Syria. Only such a table would be able to exert genuine pressure on all sides in this dispute.

Progressives in the region need to try and strengthen these social forces to enter the Syrian dialogue.

The road to salvation in Syria does not only go through the Pentagon. It might have to wind its way through Beirut, Baghdad, Ankara, Amman, Algiers, Cairo, and Tehran–a circuit that has concrete stakes in the germination of a political process in Syria. The West could live with perpetual war.

It would weaken Hizbollah (the same boring wished for mantra of the west and Saudi Arabia), Israel’s main threat and it would bring disorder to what the West fears, the illusion of Iranianism.

Syria cannot survive perpetual war. It needs the strength of the region to recover from the dark night of the Ba‘th and the dark dawn of ISIS and al-Nusra.

Diplomacy has not been exhausted. No regional approach has been permitted to get off the ground.

This has to be the focus of energy.

Tale of two struggles?  Syrian resistance development

It is a tragedy of history when so many people regardless of sect, ethnicity, religion, and gender join in nonviolent resistance to demand freedom for all, and achieve so much with so little during such a brief time, only to have their accomplishments go largely unrecognized.

Worse, their struggle devolve into a fight with oppression on its own violent terms – as if these could be complementary to nonviolent resistance, an effective method to protect people, or a proven instrument to defeat a brutal regime. This happened in Syria.

Maciej Bartkowski and Mohja Kahf posted on OpenDemocracy this September 23, 2013: The Syrian resistance: a tale of two struggles

The recent book Recovering Nonviolent History finds that a number of nonviolent campaigns in national liberation struggles were overtaken by violent resistance.

One major reason for abandonment of civil resistance in favor of armed struggle is failing to educate citizens of what civil resistance can achieve, and with what benefits for a people’s liberation.

The narrative void about civil resistance during ongoing conflict is often filled by armed insurrectionists with their own ideology discourse, which tries to discredit the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance and underestimates the costs of violence. How this happened in Syria is the story that follows.

Part I: Nonviolent and violent conflict

Civil resistance

The impact of the nonviolent resistance in Syria – before it was largely overshadowed by an armed uprising in early 2012 – was tremendous. It mobilized hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of until-then apathetic citizens, produced hundreds of “leaders” from people who were mostly unknown except locally, united diverse cross-sections of the Syrian population, both rural and urban, as no other internal struggle since the anti-colonial period, and shook and weakened Baathist one-party rule.

Widespread, organized, yet non-hierarchical, nonviolent resistance succeeded in weakening the power of the regime to a degree that armed resistance (notably in Hama in 1982), a few valiant souls from an intellectual elite (such as the signatories of the Damascus Declaration in 2005), and one ethnic group isolated in their armed rebellion (the Kurds in 2004) had all failed to accomplish. All this was achieved while the ranks of civil resisters were being decimated by massacre and detention, and when they had to undergo a mounting humanitarian crisis.

Protesters hit the streets in mass numbers on March 18, 2011, in Daraa, Banyas, Homs, and Damascus.

Banyas protesters reached out to the city’s large Alawite population, singing “Peaceful, peaceful-neither Sunni nor Alawite, we want national unity,”

In Damascus, protesters underscored multi-sectarian unity by holding up a sign with a cross and crescent and the words “No to repression, Yes to freedom,” while an earlier protest on March 15 in Damascus had featured a voice with a coastal Alawite accent saying, “We are Alawites, Sunnis, people of every Syrian sect, and we want to topple this regime.”

Alawite symbol of double-pronged sword, cross, crescent, and star with national flag colors, carried by protesters in Tal, (mostly Sunni town in Damascus countryside), April 2011.

Killings of unarmed protesters backfired on the regime.

In one video uploaded on March 23, 2011 in Dara, a man shouts, in a desperate voice, to armed troops,

Some of you have honor – don’t shoot! You have brothers & sisters, you have brothers – your daughters – your mothers & fathers in your town – they’re just like us, don’t shoot! …This earth is big enough for all of us! You don’t have the right anymore to take all of it for yourselves!

Scenes like this in the months of nonviolent resistance countered the regime narrative that “armed gangs” were driving the resistance.

Protests spread to Salamiya, hub of Syria’s Ismailia Shia population. Misyaf, a town with large Christian and Alawite populations alongside Sunnis, was another early multi-sectarian protest locale.

Chilling scenes of peaceful protesters suppressed by troops in Dara caused Muntaha Atrash, daughter of a national hero from the anti-colonial struggle, to reprimand the president by name on Orient Television (owned by a secular, non-Islamist Syrian in the Gulf) in her quavering elderly voice, declaring outright that the regime narrative was false and refuting its accusation of sectarianism.

The civil resistance group Pulse (Nabd), begun by Alawite activists, emerged in Homs by summer; a Kurdish nonviolent group Ava, formed around June 2011; women were at the vanguard of a nonviolent protest series organized in Salamiya, called The Street Is Ours (al-Share Lana).

Non-sectarianism shone during Syria’s most massive rally, of an estimated 400,000 in Hama’s Clock Tower Square in July 2011, full of scenes of cross-religious embrace, women’s participation, and nonviolent conduct.

This broad-based appeal would have hardly been possible, had not the uprising been unarmed.

With the regime insisting it was battling “armed gangs,” protesters clapped and raised both hands while marching to show that they were not hiding weapons. In Daraya, Yahya Shurbaji popularized the nonviolent concept of “fraternization,” whereby in order to make human contact with regime soldiers and soften their hostility or perhaps even motivate their defection, protesters distributed water and flowers to soldiers at protests.

By April, protesters in many towns had begun to self-organize, forming a non-hierarchical structure of local committees which sprang up all over Syria to coordinate nonviolent resistance.

As regime detention swept and relentless violence took members, resistance groups dissolved and regrouped under new names. With similar adaptability, protesters innovated dodge-and-feint street tactics.

Wael Kurdi, an Aleppo University student, developed a “flying protest:” protesters gathered on the agreed-upon street after announcing a fake location on government-monitored phone lines, marched and video-taped for eleven minutes, dispersed and hid or destroyed banners before security arrived, and went to safe-houses to upload the videos.

Dodge-and-feint tactics enabled protesters to protest another day, as did marching in narrow alleys rather than open squares on the Egyptian model, and holding protest signs backward over their heads, so faces in videos could not be identified.

Street protests, whose number rose to 920 in different locations in one week during this nonviolent phase and declined to fewer than 300 during the autumn 2011 when violent resistance began mounting, played an important role not only in publicizing the movement’s message but in giving people a personal sense of empowerment, long absent under the police state.

One young activist, “Rose,” expressed why protesters did not stop demonstrating, even knowing they could be killed: “We do other activism, but we will not stop demonstrating: to taste freedom, if only for ten minutes!”

Narratives of defectors from the regime cite its targeting of lethal force on the unarmed and innocents as a key factor that broke the grip of loyalty to the regime. Massacres of unarmed protesters and the death in regime detention, under apparent torture, of Hamza Khatib (reportedly thirteen years old) were specifically recalled by the first defecting Alawite officer of record, Afaq Ahmad, who worked in the Dara branch of Air Force Security. Ahmad defected days before Hamza’s mutilated body was returned to his parents on May 24, 2011.

The regime responded to its defection problem by introducing snipers and tanks, among other tactics, to reduce contact between soldiers and protesters. This, however, did not stop defections, which occurred in this phase mostly among conscripts although a handful of officers defected. Some at the army defectors’ camp in Turkey would form the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Reports of field execution of attempted defectors proliferated. In response to defections, Assad began using only three of his army’s twelve divisions, the three manned by Alawites, to force the sect to retrench around the regime. A number of high-level military defections occurred after violence spiked at the end of 2011 – though in some cases advanced preparation for defecting occurred during the nonviolent resistance phase – but these defections were increasingly by Sunnis. This set the stage for the violent polarization of Syrian society.

That the government kept responding to nonviolent protests with violent means was frequently asserted by observers as an indication of the failure of nonviolent resistance in Syria, with the concomitant assertion that nonviolent actions could succeed only when a regime behaved humanely. Yet evidence suggests that, while it lasted, nonviolent resistance was in fact a powerful weapon against the Assad regime, forcing it to be on the defensive, react to events, and commit mistakes that often backfired, leading to more resistance and solidarity across diverse groups.

Armed rebellion

Besides formal regime forces, the government allowed armed loyalist militias to kidnap, loot, rape during home invasions, and traffic women to rape farms. The existence of these roving informal militias contributed to the belief that armed defense was necessary and could protect people against these violations. Reportedly the regime itself saturated certain areas with arms, to push protesters into becoming the “armed gangs” which it claimed to be fighting from the outset. Many brigades at this stage were native to local communities, making them accountable.

Peaceful protests continued but with fewer participants: many former protest locales were becoming unsafe. In some instances, the protests occurred, according to participants, only because armed rebels helped barricade areas against regime troops.

This “protection” was of short-term, as the presence of a brigade drew increasingly indiscriminate and more powerful regime fire – including later airstrikes – to such areas. This triggered calls for arming the rebels with more powerful weapons, rather than returning to nonviolent resistance.

The trickle of foreign fighters beginning in late 2011, who entered Syria on their own or with support of foreign governments, further jeopardized unarmed resistance and reinforced the mutation of the overall conflict into civil war.

Amazingly, it was during this period of increasing violence on both sides that those who remained committed to nonviolent resistance achieved new levels of creativity and organization. Some 3 dozen revolutionary newspapers, many of them distributed in hard copy on the ground (some highlighted here), emerged.

In September 2011, Freedom Days Syria emerged as a coalition of dozens of nonviolent resistance groups. Members of groups in this coalition implemented new, highly creative nonviolent resistance methods.

For example, several young underclass women at Damascus University released thousands of small papers from the highest dorm tower, containing messages of freedom and human rights, causing regime security agents to be assigned to using all their security training for the job of picking up the subversive litter from campus grounds for days, and pursuing the activists for three weeks.

This led, on November 3, 2011, to the 23-day detention and torture of then 18-year-old Yaman Qadri, young mastermind of the scheme, which caused a ripple effect as her diverse classmates demonstrated for her, and were themselves detained, spurring more protests not only in Damascus but in their respective hometowns across Syria. Nabd, a nonviolent group in Homs formed initially by Alawite activists in spring 2011, redoubled its behind-the-scenes efforts at conflict resolution among Alawite and Sunni villages and city neighborhoods.

The Syrian Revolutionary Youth group, active in Homs and Damascus, was launched in May 2012 and spearheaded both nonviolent direct actions and socio-economic organizing in direct rebuttal to the claims that “the revolution has become totally militarized and that there is no room for peaceful protest.”

So, too, the Stop the Killing campaign that lasted from April to July 2012 and held at least 26 demonstrations in diverse geographic locations, drawing in many minority members, was an attempt to refocus energies toward nonviolent resistance after militarization had become the dominant resistance.

Meanwhile, civilian structures on the ground in Syria were working toward unified self-governance. Unity did not come to fruition on a national level, but reached the next, community-centered, level: Regional Command Councils (in Damascus, Homs, and so on) integrated many aspects of resistance work: the underground clinic system, an alternate economy, schools, media, and transportation; in effect, they created alternative local governance.

Local Free Syrian Army units had liaison on each council, in an attempt to bring armed rebels under civilian leadership.

Councils thus integrated both civilian and armed flanks.

Eventually, mixing violent and nonviolent resistance jeopardized people power, particularly when violence became the main driver of resistance from early 2012 onward. Assad redoubled his military efforts and could then show his supporters and neutral Syrians that he was their only protector against violent extremists.

Armed struggle also helped Assad to foster skepticism about the revolution among Christians, Alawites, and other communities – something that he could not achieve during the first months of resistance.

The populace now faced daunting conditions in many cities and towns. Nonviolent activists remained engaged in civic organizing but, often, in the form of full-time relief work, operating field hospitals and distributing basic goods to displaced populations, and educating displaced children.

When armed resistance fully overtook civil resistance during 2012, it gained exaggerated influence over the outside world’s view of the Syrian conflict.

Once the revolution embraced using violence, the only way it seemed possible to prevail over Assad was to acquire more arms. Because the fate of any armed resistance that is weaker than its adversary is necessarily determined by external assistance in the form of weapons, army training or air strikes, the door is opened to all the negative consequences that stem from outside military involvement.

By contrast, nonviolent resistance does not historically need military intervention to prevail. It might welcome help from external civil society groups, but what it needs most of all is the force of its own mobilized citizens. Such struggle comes with fewer overall costs for the society and greater self-control over the internal trajectories of the resistance and its eventual outcomes.

Note: My first post on Syria insurgency https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/whats-going-on-in-syria-what-is-no-dictators-and-absolute-monarchs/

Who is the Free Syrian Army? Please Explain…

As the civil war in Syria rages on, it is not always clear who is fighting the government.
The Free Syrian Army, an umbrella group of fighters, has been on the front lines since the middle of 2011.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) formed in July 2011 by a group of officers who defected from the Syrian military largely in response to orders to fire on peaceful protesters labeled as terrorists. Defection, however, is dangerous. Soldiers who do not fire on civilians risk imprisonment, torture and death.
backforward. Point # of 8 (View All)
1

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) formed in July 2011 by a group of officers who defected from the Syrian military largely in response to orders to fire on peaceful protesters labeled as terrorists. Defection, however, is dangerous. Soldiers who do not fire on civilians risk imprisonment, torture and death.
Copyright 2013 Reuters
2

The FSA is headed by Col. Riad al-Asaad (no relation to President Bashar al-Assad) who was injured in a car bomb in March, 2013 (pictured in a hospital). Brigadier General Salim Idris has in effect commanded since Dec. 2012. Idris has called for robust Western intervention.
The FSA was headed by Col. Riad al-Asaad (no relation to President Bashar al-Assad) who was injured in a car bomb in March, 2013 by the other extremist insurgent movement the Nusra Front (pictured in a hospital).
Brigadier General Salim Idris has in effect commanded since Dec. 2012. Idris has called for robust Western intervention. (Sept. 5, 2013, 5:18 a.m.)
3         “A light strike would be worse than doing nothing. If it’s not the death blow, this game helps the regime even more. The Syrian people will only suffer more death and devastation when the regime retaliates.”
Abdel Jabbar Akaidi, FSA head in Aleppo province
Akaidi believes that attacks on government targets such as airports, command centers and missile launchers would cripple the regime. Senior government military officers have reportedly been moved from such sites following President Obama’s call for missile strikes. (Sept. 5, 2013, 12:42 p.m.)
4

President Obama has said that the U.S. has only provided non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels. U.S. officials and rebel commanders told the Los Angeles Times that the CIA and U.S. special operatives have secretly trained rebels in the use of anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons since 2012.  (June 21, 2013, 5:44 p.m.)
5

Rebels have had a difficult time holding onto territory. As the fighting has dragged on, the Syrian government has given up control of most of the north in favor of the coast and the south. Rebel control of territory is divided between the FSA and religious extremist factions that gain local favor with handouts.  (Sept. 5, 2013, 6:02 a.m.)
6

Not all of the fighters in the FSA come from the ranks of the Syrian army and not all of the rebels are affiliated with the FSA. Concerns about religious extremists, particularly those with ties to Al-Qaeda such as Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, have persisted.
Copyright 2013 Reuters
Not all of the fighters in the FSA come from the ranks of the Syrian army and not all of the rebels are affiliated with the FSA. Concerns about religious extremists, particularly those with ties to Al-Qaeda such as Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, have persisted.  (Sept. 5, 2013, 6:59 a.m.)
7

Media descriptions of the rebels vary. Those opposed to the Syrian government like Qatar’s Al Jazeera tend to play up the FSA, while those with the government like Hezbollah’s Al Manar emphasize the role of religious extremists. Western press often say the FSA is divided and competes with extremists.  (Sept. 5, 2013, 1:17 p.m.)
While the FSA has at times fought beside fighters in religious groups, the 2 have become increasingly opposed. The FSA has also split from official political opposition groups and been accused of brutality. All these factors have raised questions as to who will control Syria after fighting ends.
Sept. 5, 2013, 1:31 p.m.)
انشروها على اوسع نطاق ممكن
إستفتاء: أغلبية الأميركيين يوافقو على إرسال  أعضاء الكونجرس إلى سوريا..ويرون أنه أفضل مسار للعمل في هذا الوقت :)</p><br /><br />
<p>إنظروا, الشعب الأمريكي يريد إرسال الكونغرس إلينا ... هل رأيتم ماذا تفعل أصواتكم ... ؟ ..جعلت الشعب الأمريكي ينقلب على مجلس الكونغرس ... لكم التعليق !!!</p><br /><br />
<p>رابط المقال في التعليق الأول.....
Note 2: “Who are the extremist jihadists groups” will be posted very soon
Citations
  1. Officials: US Training Syrian Forces in Jordan
  2. Exclusive: U.S. secretly providing training for Syrian rebels
  3. Syria Rebels Say Hit Hard, or Not at All
  4. Syrian rebel army founder’s leg blown off by car bomb
  5. Institute for the Study of War
  6. Syrian rebel general grapples with disarray in his ranks
  7. الفضائية – مكتبة التقارير
  8. Elizabeth O’Bagy: On the Front Lines of Syria’s Civil War
  9. Institute for the Study of War
  10. Guide to the Syrian opposition
  11. Splits widen within Syrian opposition
  12. Brutality of Syrian Rebels Posing Dilemma in West
  13. In Syria debate, little mention of rebels — MSNBC
  14. Syrian rebels also fighting al Qaeda, other hard-liners for villagers’ hearts and minds
  15. Exclusive: Former Syria defense minister defects in break with Assad

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