News / Middle East

Rebels Furious Over Diplomatic Deal on Syria

Free Syrian Army fighters pose for a photograph with their weapons in the old city of Aleppo, Sept. 16, 2013.
Free Syrian Army fighters pose for a photograph with their weapons in the old city of Aleppo, Sept. 16, 2013.
Syrian rebels remain furious over a Russian-brokered deal on Syria’s chemical weapons that has averted U.S. strikes on Damascus, saying the gives President Bashar al-Assad a green light to redouble his bombardments of opposition fighters and civilians.

During the weekend, Assad’s jets and artillery resumed heavy shelling of rebel-held areas outside Damascus. The shelling had been halted when it appeared a U.S. strike was likely.

Rebels aligned with the major Western-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, say the deal does nothing to halt the indiscriminate air attacks and shelling that have left thousands dead.

Rebels say they doubt the Syria government will abide by the deal.

Opposition activists and civilians in rebel-held strongholds are making home-made gas masks from bottles, surgical cotton and coal dust and are trying to secure supplies of  drugs that can be used as antidotes to nerve agents.

Rebel merger

Partly in response to disappointment over the deal, two of the biggest rebel brigades aligned with the Western-backed Free Syrian Army [FSA], Liwa al-Tawhid and Liwa al-Fatah, have agreed to go ahead with a merger.

Their leaders say they now expect no real assistance from the U.S., according to Abu Feras, spokesman for Al-Tawhid.

“The international community doesn’t care what happens to Syria," he said. "If it really did it would have intervened a long time ago. They accuse the regime of crimes against humanity and just talk, as if that would solve anything.”

Commanders say together their unit numbers about 13,000 fighters. Both brigades have been highly active in the city of Aleppo and surrounding towns in the two-and-half-year civil war.

“We need to be united to liberate Syria and all the fighters are demanding we merge,” said Radwan Qarandal of Liwa al-Fatah.

The head of the rebel’s Supreme Military Command, Gen. Salim Idriss, who defected from the Syrian army, brokered the effort.

It is the first big merger in months of loosely aligned FSA rebel brigades, who remain disunited and often at odds with each other.

  • This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network shows anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a poster depicting U.S. President Barack Obama during a demonstration in Kafr Nabil, Idlib province, Sept. 20, 2013.
  • Children sit along a damaged street filled with debris in the besieged area of Homs, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • Debris is seen on the ground after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • An injured man walks along a street after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by The Syrian Revolution against Bashar Assad shows a Syrian military tank on fire during clashes with Free Syrian army fighters in Joubar, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 18, 2013.
  • A member of the Shohadaa Badr Brigade, which operates under the Free Syrian Army, stands in shooting position behind sandbags in Ashrafieh, Aleppo, September 17, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters walk through rubble inside the old city of Aleppo, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter carries his weapon as he stands on rubble of damaged buildings in al-Aseela neighborhood near Aleppo's historic citadel, Sept. 13, 2013.
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen, a Syrian protester chants slogans during a demonstration in Arbeen, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 13, 2013.

Varied opposition

Their disunity stands in marked contrast to the more disciplined al-Qaida affiliates in Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and the smaller Jabhat al-Nusra.

The UK defense consultancy IHS Jane’s estimates that there are more than 1,000 rebel bands in Syria. As the war has dragged on, allegations of ill-discipline, looting and hostage-taking have dogged the rebels.

Over the weekend, one freed hostage, the Italian journalist Domenico Quirico, warned in an article in La Stampa that the conflict on the rebel side is seeing “the emergence of groups of Somali-style bandits who use an Islamic veneer and the context of the revolution to control pieces of territory, extort money from the population, kidnap people and generally fill their boots.”

Quirico, who was held for 150 days and released last week, said he was taken hostage by a group linked with Al-Farouk, a well-known rebel brigade aligned with the Syrian National Council.

The brigade was implicated last year in the abduction of more than a dozen Lebanese pilgrims in Syria. The Italian journalist said the revolution has “lost its way and become the property of fanatics and bandits.”

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: maithe from: Paris, France
September 16, 2013 6:13 PM
So "rebels are furious"!..We, the western countries, should solve all their (and other) problems...That's too much !

I'm asking : what the Arab League is doing to help them?
Why the Arab League is so silent and syrian (or not syrian) rebels are not "furious" ?....

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs