News / Middle East

Rival Rebel Groups Battle in Syria

Rival Rebel Groups Battle in Syriai
X
January 18, 2014 1:11 AM
Syrian rebel groups are fighting each other. More than 1,000 people have died in the past two weeks in clashes among armed opposition groups. The infighting appears to be benefiting the government in Damascus. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

Rival Rebel Groups Battle in Syria

Meredith Buel
Syrian rebel groups are fighting each other. More than 1,000 people have died in the past two weeks in clashes among armed opposition groups. The infighting appears to be benefiting the government in Damascus.

It is the worst rebel-on-rebel violence since Syria’s civil war began nearly three years ago.

Opposition fighters are targeting the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS, which has been terrorizing civilians.

David Pollock, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute, said, “Torturing and executing people, and beating them up and forcing them to adopt their own extreme, really extreme, brand of Islam.”

And now there appear to be massacres. U.N. human rights officials say the mass executions could amount to war crimes.

Syria, deaths from conflict, January 14, 2014Syria, deaths from conflict, January 14, 2014
x
Syria, deaths from conflict, January 14, 2014
Syria, deaths from conflict, January 14, 2014
William McCants of the Brookings Institution expects more to come.

“I think we are going to see a lot more of these kinds of atrocities committed because ISIS does not really have a conscience when it comes to fighting against its enemies, whether that is the regime or it is other Muslim fighters,” he said.

And now the Syrian war is spilling across borders.

In a dramatic revival of the Sunni insurgency, ISIS fighters have seized control of key parts of Iraq’s Anbar province.

The al-Qaida-linked rebels are trying to turn the region into one big battlefield.

Secretary of State John Kerry said, “We, too, are deeply concerned about the rise of extremism. The world needs no reminder that Syria has become the magnet for jihadists and extremists.

And the battles among rebels appear to be boosting the Syrian government.

Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are gaining ground in the chaos of rebel-on-rebel fighting.

“Oh, they are certainly exploiting the fighting. The Syrian government forces have made a lot of gains in the last few days in Aleppo province and that is where the infighting has been most intense," said McCants.

Pollock said there is evidence of military cooperation between the Syrian government and some ISIS rebels. “The Syrian regime is not only exploiting this, but is actually behind it, is actually one of the responsible parties for trying to discredit and divide the opposition,” he said.

Western countries are hoping peace talks scheduled to begin January 22 will open up new paths for humanitarian aid and reduce violence.

Syria’s government has proposed a ceasefire in Aleppo.

Analysts question how that could happen.

“Even if the Syrian opposition coalition is able to come to some sort of terms with the Assad government, the fact that the largest fighting group, the Islamic Front, has denounced the negotiations means it is not worth the paper it is printed on if they have an agreement at the end of it,” said McCants.

Despite diplomatic efforts, rebels vow to continue the fight in Syria.

And after weeks of insurgent infighting, it appears the government’s position is only getting stronger.

  • Fighters from the Free Syrian Army's Saif al-Umayyad brigade prepare rockets to be launched towards forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Jan. 16, 2014.
  • Men ride a motorbike past buildings damaged by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Daraya, Jan. 15, 2014.
  • Smoke rises from buildings after what activists said was shelling from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the besieged area of Homs, Jan. 15, 2014.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters walk at the Tameko pharmaceutical factory after the FSA claimed to have taken control of the factory, in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • A girl carries her belongings as she walks on rubble at a site hit by what activists said was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Arbeen, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • This SANA photo shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad speaking to female preachers from mosques in Damascus and its countryside and educators of religious high schools and institutes in Damascus, Jan. 14, 2014.
  • Syrian refugees wait to enter Turkey on the Syrian-Turkish border in Shamm Alqrain village, Jan. 13, 2014.
  • Smoke rises from what activists said were explosive barrels thrown from helicopters on Daria outside Damascus, Jan. 12, 2014.
  • Damaged buildings are pictured in the besieged area of Homs, Jan. 12, 2014.
  • Residents inspect the damage caused by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant suicide bombers at the Tawhid Brigade and Al-Fateh brigade headquarters in Aleppo, Jan. 12, 2014.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid