Infighting trips Syrian rebels
On Syria's front lines, al-Qaida fighters and more mainstream Syrian rebels have turned against each other in a power struggle that has undermined the effort to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Clashes and the assassination of two rival commanders have led more moderate factions to accuse the extremists of trying to seize control of the rebellion.
The rivalries — along with the efforts by extremist foreign fighters to impose their strict interpretation of Islam in areas they control — are chipping away at the movement's popularity in Syria at a time when the regime is making significant advances on the ground.
“The rebels' focus has shifted from toppling the regime to governing and power struggles,” said a 29-year-old woman from the contested city of Homs. “I feel that the lack of true leadership is and has always been their biggest problem.” She spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing retaliation from the fighters and the regime.
The infighting, which exploded into the open in the country's rebel-held north in recent days, is contributing to a sense across many parts of Syria that the revolution has faltered. It threatens to fracture an opposition movement that has been plagued by divisions from the start.
The moderates once valued the expertise and resources that their uneasy allies brought to the battlefield but now question whether such assets are worth the trouble — not to mention the added difficulty in persuading the West to arm them.
“We don't want foreign fighters. We have enough men, and we want them out of Syria,” said Brig. Gen. Salim Idris, head of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, an umbrella group for dozens of brigades.
In blunt comments in an interview with Al-Arabiya on Monday, Idris, a secular-minded army defector who has the backing of foreign powers, accused members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant of being regime agents and “criminals.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Japan to participate in joint exercise with U.S., Australia
- Iran to try Washington Post reporter in closed court on spying charges
- 19 officers, 7 soldiers killed in siege of Afghan police compound
- Tornado ravages U.S.-Mexico border towns
- Former Israeli PM Olmert sentenced to prison for taking campaign money from American
- Conservative populist Duda becomes Poland’s president
- Guatemala interior minister resigns amid political crisis
- Saudi King Salman vows retribution for suicide attack on mosque
- Army commando team kills senior Islamic State official in Syria raid
- Islamic State terrorists tighten grip on Ramadi, Iraq, execute opponents
- New parties shake up politics around Spain