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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid