News / Middle East

Experts: Syria's Foreign Fighters Negatively Impacting Anti-Assad Fight

Experts: Syria's Foreign Fighters Negatively Impacting Anti-Assad Fighti
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Kokab Farshori
March 27, 2014 8:14 PM
International efforts to stop the fighting in Syria have failed to end the conflict, as rebel fighters and the Assad government battle on with no immediate victory in sight. The involvement of foreign militants in the Syrian conflict complicates the situation even more. VOA’s Kokab Farshori takes a look at where the foreign fighters come from and the impact they are having.
Kokab Farshori
International efforts to stop the fighting in Syria have failed to end the conflict, as rebel fighters and the Assad government battle on with no immediate victory in sight. The involvement of foreign militants in the Syrian conflict complicates the situation even more.

Conflict in Syria has entered its fourth year, and the United Nations estimates the fighting has left more than 100,000 people dead. While the Assad regime is trying to crush the rebellion, the rebel groups are fighting back with support from much of the Syrian population and also from external backing - including some foreign fighters who go to Syria to fight alongside the rebels.

​These foreign fighters come from several different countries says Daniel Serwer, a scholar at the Middle East Institute and professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

"They are mainly from the Middle East. But there are some from Europe and even a few from the United States. And you have some influx from Pakistan that is in the news," he said  "It is serious problem."

Even though these foreigners are fighting against the Assad regime that Washington heavily criticizes for its alleged human right violations, Serwer says these radicalized millitants are of great concern to the U.S. as well.
 
"It is clear that Syria, or parts of Syria, risk becoming a haven for extremists, and they will use that haven as a platform eventually to launch attacks against the United States," he said. This has happened with Yemen, this has happened with Pakistan, and this has happened with Afghanistan."

Experts also say a lot of Syrians are hesitant to join the anti-Assad forces because of the presence of foreign fighters among their ranks. Fragmentation among the rebel groups benefits the Assad regime, says Leila Hilal, an expert on Syria with Washington’s New America Foundation.

"The opposition that is fighting against the Assad regime is factionalized, is fragmented and increasingly so," she said. "We have something in the number of 5,000 different fighting brigades. So, without the unification of the opposition fighters, it is very hard to mount to a successful campaign."

Peace talks between the Assad regime and rebel forces have not produced any positive results. And Halal points out the crisis in Ukraine has further diminished  hopes for a diplomatic solution of the crisis.

"The impact that the Crimea situation is having on Syria is that it is undermining the ability of Russia and the U.S. to work together toward a diplomatic solution for Syria," she said,

The crisis in Syria has now caused more than two-and-a-half million people to flee the country and become refugees. Experts stress that further delay in finding a diplomatic solution to the conflict will only aggravate the humanitarian crisis.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: t_guys from: Slovenia
March 28, 2014 4:39 AM
On which basis do you state that "much of the population" supports the rebels? Don't you think that a national service Army still fighting hard is a sign of strength for Syrian regime?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid