News / Middle East

Islamic Extremists Infiltrate Syrian Opposition

Islamic Extremists Infiltrate Syrian Oppositioni
|| 0:00:00
X
Meredith Buel
September 22, 2012 2:43 AM
As the conflict rages in Syria, regional analysts say Islamic extremist groups increasingly are infiltrating the opposition forces fighting the government. VOA's Meredith Buel reports this could radicalize Syrian rebels, causing significant problems for efforts to end the conflict and stabilize the country.

Islamic Extremists Infiltrate Syrian Opposition

Meredith Buel
— As the conflict rages in Syria, regional analysts say Islamic extremist groups increasingly are infiltrating the opposition forces fighting the government. This could radicalize Syrian rebels, causing significant problems for efforts to end the conflict and stabilize the country.

An amateur video shows fighters with Ahar al-Sham, an Islamic jihadist group, that appear to be attacking a Syrian military personnel carrier.

 A fierce gun battle erupts.

Another video by the group shows an explosion under a Syrian tank.

Evidence, regional political analysts say, that groups linked to al-Qaida are involved in the Syrian conflict.
 “We have seen videos come from the opposition forces of rebels with the black banner of al-Qaida,” said Malou Innocent of the Cato Institute. “We have heard Iraqi officials say that al-Qaida elements have been pouring over their border into Syria.”

Damascus long supported terrorist organizations within Syria, and they have now turned on the government.

Syria was a transit point for al-Qaida militants fighting coalition forces during the Iraq war.
Regional analyst Elizabeth O'Bagy said there is a small, but growing, jihadist presence.

 “The logistical networks that were facilitated by the Syrian regime in the past are now working in the reverse direction, funneling al-Qaida in Iraq and Islamic State of Iraq operatives into Syria,” she said.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has used the threat of jihadists to build support among the minority Alawite and Christian communities.

Daniel Newman, who heads the Arabic Department at Britain’s Durham University, said the arrival of extremists plays into that narrative.

“And so ironically this is, to this day, being used by the regime, particularly in their dealings with the Christian minority. 'You see this is what will happen. You see, it is what we said all along - these are Islamists and you will suffer under the yoke of the Islamists.'”

The U.S. says it will not arm the rebels because weapons could fall into the wrong hands.

Analysts say predominantly Sunni Muslim countries in the region, however, are providing money and munitions. And the increase in radical Islamists could have serious implications.

“It also poses significant problems for Syria’s future stability in a post-Assad future,” said O’Bagy. “If there are radical elements that are able to gain a foothold, they could seriously hurt any form of a democratic vision for what comes next.”

As the Syrian government increases its use of warplanes and heavy weapons against rebels and civilians, there are fears the opposition will become more radical and that is likely to prolong the conflict.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 22, 2012 2:52 PM
It is becoming increasingly difficult to predict the end result of the Syrian crisis. This is due to the facts on the ground with evidence of outlawed militia groups taking the driving seat. This is not what fighters of the free syrian army should be aiming at. It is rather taking the whole country into bondage, to create another muslim brotherhood, taliban, haqqanni network, el shabaab, boko haram etc when the number is already unmanageable. The US and Europe should reappraise their stand on this issue to find a better compromise to cater for the interest of those who see Bashir al Assad as their godfather to protect them against these islamist groups that will surely swallow them up if allowed to have their spring.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid