News / Middle East

    Syrian Opposition Fighters Have Varying Motives

    Syrian Opposition Fighters Have Varying Motivesi
    X
    September 13, 2013 10:50 PM
    As international diplomacy continues on the Syria crisis, the battle in the country between various rebel groups and the Syrian government rages. Rebels are varied and divided among several factions with differing agendas. But as VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports, all have the goal of ousting the government of Bashar al-Assad.
    Syrian Opposition Fighters Have Varying Motives
    Meredith Buel
    As international diplomacy continues on the Syria crisis, the battle in the country between various rebel groups and the Syrian government rages. Rebels are varied and divided among several factions with differing agendas. All have the goal, however, of ousting the government of Bashar al-Assad.

    They have sworn allegiance to al-Qaida.

    The fighters of Jabhat al-Nusra are among the best trained and armed in Syria.

    The U.S. says they are terrorists.

    Many fought against American soldiers in neighboring Iraq.

    A commander goes by the alias Sheikh Abu Ahmed “People like me used to pray in the mosque five times a day, and before the revolution, the Syrian regime considered this as a crime. Because of this we were arrested, captured many times and tortured by the regime’s branches. For this reason we are against the regime from the bottom of our hearts,” he said.

    Some al-Qaida links

    Jihadi fighters like those from al-Nusra are one of the reasons the U.S. has been reluctant to send weapons to Syria.

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, “This is an imperfect situation. There are no good options here. This is complicated. There is no clarity.”

    U.S. officials say there are up to 100,000 Syrian rebels trying to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad.  

    Between 15 and 25 percent are linked to al-Qaida.

    But U.S. officials say moderates make up the largest share of Assad's opposition.

    U.S. President Barack Obama said, "The majority of the Syrian people - and the Syrian opposition we work with - just want to live in peace, with dignity and freedom."

    Free Syrian Army

    Many rebels who fight under the banner of the Free Syrian Army have defected from the Syrian military.

    An unnamed commander said, “I was a sergeant-major before I defected. After witnessing tyranny of Assad’s gang, I wanted to defend this country until the last drop of my blood, God willing.”

    The use of chemical weapons in the conflict seemingly outweighs the U.S. concern about extremists. It's the major reason Obama initially proposed a military strike.

    “It’s true that some of Assad’s opponents are extremists. But al-Qaida will only draw strength in a more chaotic Syria if people there see the world doing nothing to prevent innocent civilians from being gassed to death,” said the president.

    Islamists in picture

    Some jihadi groups, like Ahrar al-Sham, have staged spectacular attacks - usually with car bombs.

    But analysts say most Syrians have no desire to live in a country ruled by Islamic law.

    Former CIA officer turned analyst Reuel Marc Gerecht said that is unlikely. “I deeply doubt that small jihadi organizations, even numbering 10 or 20 thousand, are sufficient to dominate in a post-Assad Syria.”

    So while diplomats discuss what to do about Syria’s chemical weapons,

    The deadly and complicated civil war continues.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    September 14, 2013 10:00 AM
    In other words somebody is laying the blame on the US who supported the ousting of Bashar al Assad in the first place. With the impression that though a dictator, Assad was more accommodating than an islamist group - Egypt and Libya are too fresh to forget - to topple him was going to create a power vacuum that might be difficult to fill. Is that scenario playing out to be true? Why then did the US ignore the voice of reason and allowed the country to land in the quagmire that defies every solution - while the US ruefully sounds confused as to the way forward.

    The statement that 'most Syrians have no desire to live in a country ruled by Islamic law' must be true as it is in every other islamic country, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran, but the staggering reality is that even a group of 5000 jihadists with murderous intentions will intimidate the rest of the people and force them to live in subjective islamist rule. That is how the whole of the region became Islamic, not by choice or will but by force or coercion. The question then is, what is the solution? Should the people be left in that chaotic situation? Assad has been spoilt by the unwarranted intimidation, has become timidly hostile to Israel and other western allies in the region, and therefore no longer useful as a neighbor. He cannot be allowed to continue to rule a people he intends to wipe out by poison gas. Nor is the opposition made up of terrorists through and through.

    Possible solution is a re-colonization of Syria that will see to the fine-tuning of democracy, freedoms and choices in the country before leaving the people to rule themselves. From every indication they are not matured for self rule and should not be forced to do it. Otherwise the few miscreants leaning on religion will continue to dominate the people in the name of sharia or Islamic democracy.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora