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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid