Key Syrian Rebel Groups Abandon Exile Leaders

al nusra rebels  syriaAs diplomats at the United Nations push for a peace conference to end Syria’s civil war, a collection of some of the country’s most powerful rebel groups publicly abandoned the opposition’s political leaders, casting their lot with an affiliate of Al Qaeda.

As support for the Western-backed leadership has dwindled, a second, more extreme Al Qaeda group has carved out footholds across parts of Syria, frequently clashing with mainline rebels who accuse it of making the establishment of an Islamic state a priority over the fight to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

The fractured nature of the opposition, the rising radical Islamist character of some rebel fighters, and the increasing complexity of Syria’s battle lines have left the exile leadership with diminished clout inside the country and have raised the question of whether it could hold up its end of any agreement reached to end the war.

The deep differences between many of those fighting in Syria and the political leaders who have represented the opposition abroad spilled into the open late Tuesday, when 11 rebel groups declared that the opposition could be represented only by people who have “lived their troubles and shared in what they have sacrificed.”

Distancing themselves from the exile opposition’s call for a democratic, civil government to replace Mr. Assad, they called on all military and civilian groups in Syria to “unify in a clear Islamic frame.” Those who signed included three groups aligned with the Western-backed opposition’s Supreme Military Council.

Mohannad al-Najjar, an activist close to the leadership of one of the statement’s most powerful signers, Al Tawhid Brigade, said the group intended to send a message of disapproval to an exile leadership it believes has accomplished little.

“We found it was time to announce publicly and clearly what we are after, which is Shariah law for the country and to convey a message to the opposition coalition that it has been three years and they have never done any good for the Syrian uprising and the people suffering inside,” he said.

The statement was issued just as Western nations are striving to raise the profile of the “moderate” Syrian political opposition, which is led by Ahmad al-Jarba. The United States and its allies have been reluctant to fully align with and arm the rebels because their ranks are heavily populated by Islamists.

France has scheduled an event on Thursday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly at which Mr. Jarba is to speak along with foreign ministers who have backed him, including Secretary of State John Kerry.

There was no immediate comment from Mr. Jarba, whose coalition is formally known as the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. Mr. Jarba canceled a news conference that had also been scheduled for Thursday.

A senior State Department official who accompanied Mr. Kerry to the United Nations meetings this week said that the United States was still trying to strengthen Mr. Jarba’s coalition and suggested that some of the factions that had broken with him might include extremists.

“We, of course, have seen the reports of an announcement by some Islamist opposition groups of their formation of a new political alliance,” the State Department official said.

“As we’ve already said clearly before, we’ve been long working toward unity among the opposition,” the official added. “But we also have had extreme concerns about extremists.”

Another American official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was discussing internal deliberations, said that the coalition had recently made “real progress” in broadening its base by including an array of Kurdish parties as well as members of local councils in “liberated” areas of northern and eastern Syria.

But the official acknowledged that the coalition had more to do to build up its credibility inside the country since its headquarters are in Turkey and not Syria.

The latest split in the opposition emerged as the United States, Russia and other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council were making progress on another front: drafting a Council resolution that would enforce an agreement on eliminating Syria’s vast chemical weapons arsenal.

A Western diplomat said that about 80 percent of the resolution had been agreed to and that he was “cautiously optimistic” it would be settled this week.

The rifts between the exile opposition and those fighting Mr. Assad’s forces inside Syria have raised questions about whether the opposition’s political leadership has sufficient influence in the country to hold up its end if an agreement was ever reached to end the civil war.

“At this stage, the political opposition does not have the credibility with or the leverage over the armed groups on the ground to enforce an agreement that the armed groups reject,” said Noah Bonsey, who studies the Syrian opposition for the International Crisis Group.

“You need two parties for an agreement, and there is no viable political alternative to the coalition,” he said, defining a disconnect between the diplomatic efforts taking shaping in New York and the reality across Syria.

Inside Syria, rebel groups that originally formed to respond to crackdowns by Mr. Assad’s forces on political protests have gradually merged into larger groupings, some commanded and staffed by Islamists. But differences in ideology and competition for scarce foreign support have made it hard for them to unite under an effective, single command.

Seeking to build a moderate front against Mr. Assad, Western nations encouraged the formation of the opposition political coalition. Even though some of its leading members like Mr. Jarba have been imprisoned by the Assad government, the coalition has loose links to many of the rebel fighters on the ground.

The rebel groups that assailed the political opposition are themselves diverse and include a number that are linked to the coalition’s supreme military council. More troubling to the West they also include Al Nusra Front, a group linked to Al Qaeda. At the same time they include groups that remain opposed to another group linked to Al Qaeda: the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

“The brigades that signed have political differences with Nusra, but we agree with them militarily since they want to topple the regime,” said a rebel, who gave his name as Abu Bashir.

A coalition member and aide to Mr. Jarba said the opposition was still studying the development but was surprised at some of the groups that had signed on with Al Nusra Front.

“The Islamic project is clear and it is not our project,” said the coalition member, Monzer Akbik. “We don’t have a religious project; we have a civil democratic project, and that needs to be clear.”

Further complicating the picture is the rise of the new Qaeda franchise, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — or ISIS, which has established footholds across northern and eastern Syria with the intention to lay the foundations of an Islamic state.

In recent months, it has supplanted Al Nusra Front as the primary destination for foreign jihadis streaming into Syria, according to rebels and activists who have had contact with the group.

Its fighters, who hail from across the Arab world, Chechnya, Europe and elsewhere, have a reputation for being well armed and strong in battle. Its suicide bombers are often sent to strike the first blow against government bases.

But its application of strict Islamic law has isolated rebels and civilians. Its members have executed and beheaded captives in town squares and imposed strict codes, forcing residents to wear modest dress and banning smoking in entire villages.

NY Times

  • Reasonableman

    13 actually

    • libnan1

      All 13 got defeated by HA. That goes to show you how powerful are these Horanies. They should go back to their day jobs, pouring concrete and digging ditches in Lebanon.

      • Hannibal

        We do not need more foreigners in Lebanon… We have the abou sorra oranges to pour concrete lol

      • wargame1

        Hezbushaitan defeated none of them. They have managed to capture a small town named Al-Quser when the FSA retreated while running out of ammo. Since then we here nothing about Hezbushaitan other than yellow flag warped coffin. You will see Hezbushaitan nest coming under attack by the rebel group.

        • Peaceforleb

          Not only are you crazy, you are also very much in denial. You poor soul.

          • wargame1

            You are in denial your poor soul. Count the coffin of Hezbushaitan and look what is happening in Syria. You thought Assad Hezbushaitan and Iran will crush the resistance but alas!!!! it didnt happen. Do you think its going to stay in Syria and not coming to Lebanon to burn the next of Hezbushaitan? Then you are in denial again.

    • wargame1

      This announcement comes amidst recent military activities in which the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has clashed with the Free Syrian Army units. This is a move against ISIS by its Syrian nationalist rivals. The pro Turkey FSA and ISIS plus Muslim Brotherhood are on the same boat. These groups are not included in the new coalition. The NY times news is misleading , ignoring the vital point that the new coalition is against the ISIS (Al-Qaeda of Iraq). SO this new coalition is a move not only against the ineffective interim leadership, but also against the encroaching forces of ISIS.

    • Hannibal

      I wonder which will rule if there is an after Assad… He He this is the war of 100 years.
      Israel WON!

      • Reasonableman

        Too much illuminati theories circulating. The earth is none of ours it is allahs, i try not to think too much but i pray it is somebody who gives justice for all.

        • Leborigine

          Metallica

  • Reasonableman

    13 actually

    • libnan1

      All 13 got defeated by HA. That goes to show you how powerful are these Horanies. They should go back to their day jobs, pouring concrete and digging ditches in Lebanon.

      • Hannibal

        We do not need more foreigners in Lebanon… We have the abou sorra oranges to pour concrete lol

      • wargame1

        Hezbushaitan defeat none of them. They have managed to capture a small town named Al-Quser when the FSA retreated while running out of ammo. Since then we here nothing about Hezbushaitan. You will see Hezbushaitan nest coming under attack by the rebel group.

        • Peaceforleb

          Not only are you crazy, you are also very much in denial. You poor soul.

          • wargame1

            You are in denial your poor soul. Count the coffin of Hezbushaitan and look what is happening in Syria. You thought Assad Hezbushaitan and Iran will crush the resistance but alas!!!! it didnt happen. Do you think its going to stay in Syria and not coming to Lebanon to burn the next of Hezbushaitan? Then you are in denial again.

    • wargame1

      This announcement comes amidst recent military activities in which the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has clashed with the Free Syrian Army units. This is a move against ISIS by its Syrian nationalist rivals. The pro Turkey FSA and ISIS plus Muslim Brotherhood are on the same boat. These groups are not included in the new coalition

    • Hannibal

      I wonder which will rule if there is an after Assad… He He this is the war of 100 years.
      Israel WON!

      • Reasonableman

        Too much illuminati theories circulating. The earth is none of ours it is allahs, i try not to think too much but i pray it is somebody who gives justice for all.

        • Leborigine

          Metallica

  • MekensehParty

    Atyab chabeb
    This has been in the making for quite some time, all MB related factions who lost Qatar’s funding must unite because the FSA just got a pipeline of weapons and money from KSA in the south that they obviously are not ready to share with them.
    Some say that they’ve been waiting for the strike to surprise and proclaim the schism invade Damascus and take the power, as it doesn’t look like it’s coming, they decided to finally announce it.
    Good luck everybody!

  • MekensehParty

    Atyab chabeb
    This has been in the making for quite some time, all MB related factions who lost Qatar’s funding must unite because the FSA just got a pipeline of weapons and money from KSA in the south that they obviously are not ready to share with them.
    Some say that they’ve been waiting for the strike to surprise and proclaim the schism invade Damascus and take the power, as it doesn’t look like it’s coming, they decided to finally announce it.
    Good luck everybody!

  • wargame1

    This new move by the rebel has multiple benefit and the first and foremost is to sort out the groups who are creating tribulation and fighting for their own agenda.ISIS is out.

    Assad will not get the ceasefire he wants and Putin, Jarba, Obama and Rouhani will not be able to make peace. Now What? The West are going to tell the Pro western FSA leadership to fight these group …LoL. Like they say: if you can’t fight ’em, join ’em.So in the end all FSA will join the new coalition. It has already started today, some FSA groups are already joining them.The Al-Qaedas Leader Aiman Al Zawaheri tried to endorse Al-Nusra group from the begining but in the end Nusra broke away from them and join the new coalition. If nusra was still with Al-Qaeda then they would never join the new coalition without their supposed buddy ISIS. Any way a big clash against Al-Qaeda can be anytime soon.

    Obama could have prevented this by bombing Assad last month , he will now have to face even bigger consequences. Like all the rebels cutting ties with the West. This is a great move and a big middle finger to all the hypocrite spineless Western leaders with crocodile tears who pretend as if they care about the rebels and the Syrian civilian. Its more than two years after more than 120000 people are killed the west is still playing the game with chemical weapon issue which killed only about 1000.

    • libnan1

      Hey wargame, listen dude the Syrians had it good until the Saudis and the west started to funck with them. So they gave them some weapons and send them on die. The same shit happened in Lebanon back in the 70’s, Sunnis had it good until they were told by their masters that need to get more power so they sided with the PLO to do their fighting and in the process they destroyed Lebanon. Now Sunnis in Lebanon and Syria are shitting bricks. You people are worthless in everything, you don’t know how to fight or for that matter do anything without help. These are just some thoughts to dwell on while writing your essays.

      • Peaceforleb

        Lol, now you’ll have it thinking.

      • wargame1

        You need to think about saving your own ass. Dont worry about the sunnis. Wasnt it the British who parted Lebanon from Syria? It will be the Syrian who will take their country back. Now deal with it.

        • Hannibal

          Many tried… PLO, Syrians, Israelis, Turks…. AND WE REMAIN!!! LEBANESE!!! SHAWKE BE 3AYNAK…

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9Ha0GdnaLQ

          • wargame1

            Yeah Many tried and the British succeeded with the help of the Local traitors

        • Leborigine

          lol, screw your mentality! syria is a shithole, was and will always be. Turkey will take syria back as it was the British who parted it from Turkey!

          • Reasonableman

            Phillip khoury hitti
            History of the arabs
            History of syria.
            History book used as a modern day reference.
            Good read.

          • Hannibal

            Philip Hitti is an SSNP. No wonder.

          • Reasonableman

            Can you tell me where you got this info? I tried to research but to no avail.
            Weather he is white red or green it is the most reliable dare i say internationaly recognised reference.

          • Hannibal

            Because all my family is and I am not… So I know quite a bit about the party.
            Do you know that Said Akl was an SSNP? Now he is 100% opposed.

          • 5thDrawer

            Jumblatt’s Team? The ‘switch hitters’. :-))

          • Hannibal

            Change is healthy… 😉

          • Reasonableman

            Interesting must be pretty intense at dinner i can imagine lol. No i don’t even know that name this is all new to me.

          • Leborigine

            So was/is my family. ssnp is good for the uneducated, but once you realise how bad/false their foundations are and the goals that they are trying to achieve, you realise that the whole party is a joke and a waste of time.

          • Hannibal

            Where are you from Leb? and don’t say Australia 😛

          • Leborigine

            lol, I won’t, but you seem to forget easily. I believe I have told you twice so far :-).
            My mom is from B2arizlee in 3akkar and my pop is from the shouf region next to the M3asser

          • Peaceforleb

            Hey Lebo, what happen to the Melbourne storm bro. Got their ass kicked hey. Never mind. Go the Eagle’s.

          • Leborigine

            Hehehe, I don’t follow Storm Peace, I am a Dragon’s supporter. I know its wrong, but when I moved to Sydney in 1992, they were the team of choice and Storm were not around anyway. I must admit, I do not mind the Eagle’s!

          • Peaceforleb

            The dragon’s, Lebo I wont hold it against you. He He He. The Eagle’s by 10 is my prediction.

          • Hannibal

            I guess you did but old age is catching up with me.
            My dad’s mom is from M3asser but both my dad and mom from 3akkar. I am certain that we are somehow relatives. 😉

          • Peaceforleb

            Looks like its time for a good old family reunion.

          • Leborigine

            lol, as long as it is with another Lebanese, any reunion is a good reunion!

          • Peaceforleb

            I think you need to invite 5th, geo, Prophet and Dab as well. You can ask them all to come to the Gold Coast during Scloolies. Although I think you will need to keep you eye on 5th. Not sure how he will go seeing all those young blonds. Lol.

          • Leborigine

            I think I will keep my distance from the Gold Coast for now. The bikies have started a war there, glad my work moved from there last month.

          • 5thDrawer

            I’ll keep my ‘shades’ on … must be some with dark hair … hmmmm

          • Leborigine

            Who knows, we probably are as we both represent the true colours of Lebanon. Phoenician blood, no treason or loyalties to external forces especially to that shithole on our eastern border, and our national pride. 🙂

          • libnan1

            Oh Leb don’t tell me you have maroon color hair … 🙂 Shoufies are it.

          • Leborigine

            I do not have the maroon hair, but a hint of 3akkar blood, which makes me a Shoukar 🙂

          • Leborigine

            Regardless Reasonable, what are you trying to tell me??

          • Reasonableman

            Syria is not a shithole it has a very rich history.

          • Leborigine

            I apologise, but I beg to differ. syria will cease to be a shithole when they stop trying to be Lebanese and stop trying to be part of us by false claims.

          • Reasonableman

            Where do you get your information from then? If this book has been made the best reference to the history of syria (including modern day lebanon and palestine).

          • Hannibal

            only the Alaouite mountains and seaside have a rich history… They are the descendents of the Phoenicians… The rest is Arab 😛 lol

          • Leborigine

            Very true, so do the Assyrians in the north east, but they are not syrian anyway. syria was part of their empire and the Assyrians should take it back

      • Leborigine

        syria never had it good, if living like a dog for 50 years and being continuously spied on is considered good living standards, then I wonder what bad standards are like!

        • 5thDrawer

          In descending order? Try Russia … Cuba … Rhodesia/Zimbabwe … Somalia …
          Fill in spaces with some like China and Tibet wherever you wish … End with N.Korea.

          • IraniAngel

            iran is on top of that list which is why 300% of us want to get the hell outta here. this means that every citizens want to leave 3 times.. even the mollaHELLS

  • wargame1

    This new move by the rebel has multiple benefit and the first and foremost is to sort out the groups who are creating tribulation and fighting for their own agenda.ISIS is out.

    Assad will not get the ceasefire he wants and Putin, Jarba, Obama and Rouhani will not be able to make peace. Now What? The West are going to tell the Pro western FSA leadership to fight these group …LoL. Like they say: if you can’t fight ’em, join ’em.So in the end all FSA will join the new coalition. It has already started today, some FSA groups are already joining them.The Al-Qaedas Leader Aiman Al Zawaheri tried to endorse Al-Nusra group from the begining but in the end Nusra broke away from them and join the new coalition. If nusra was still with Al-Qaeda then they would never join the new coalition without their supposed buddy ISIS.Any way a big clash against Al-Qaeda can be anytime soon.

    Obama could have prevented this by bombing Assad last month , he will now have to face even bigger consequences. Like all the rebels cutting ties with the West. This is a great move and a big middle finger to all the hypocrite spineless Western leaders with crocodile tears who pretend as if they care about the rebels. Its more than two years after more than 120000 people are killed the west is still playing the game with chemical weapon issue which killed only about 1000.

    • libnan1

      Hey wargame, listen dude the Syrians had it good until the Saudis and the west started to funck with them. So they gave them some weapons and send them on die. The same shit happened in Lebanon back in the 70’s, Sunnis had it good until they were told by their masters that need to get more power so they sided with the PLO to do their fighting and in the process they destroyed Lebanon. Now Sunnis in Lebanon and Syria are shitting bricks. You people are worthless in everything, you don’t know how to fight or for that matter do anything without help. These are just some thoughts to dwell on while writing your essays.

      • Peaceforleb

        Lol, now you’ll have it thinking.

      • wargame1

        You need to think about saving your own ass. Dont worry about the sunnis. Wasnt it the British who parted Lebanon from Syria? It will be the Syrian who will take their country back. Now deal with it.

        • Hannibal

          Many tried… PLO, Syrians, Israelis, Turks…. AND WE REMAIN!!! LEBANESE!!! SHAWKE BE 3AYNAK…

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9Ha0GdnaLQ

          • wargame1

            Yeah Many tried and the British succeeded with the help of the Local traitors

        • Leborigine

          lol, screw your mentality! syria is a shithole, was and will always be. Turkey will take syria back as it was the British who parted it from Turkey!

          • Reasonableman

            Phillip khoury hitti
            History of the arabs
            History of syria.
            History book used as a modern day reference.
            Good read.

          • Hannibal

            Philip Hitti is an SSNP. No wonder.

          • Reasonableman

            Can you tell me where you got this info? I tried to research but to no avail.
            Weather he is white red or green it is the most reliable dare i say internationaly recognised reference.

          • Hannibal

            Because all my family is and I am not… So I know quite a bit about the party.
            Do you know that Said Akl was an SSNP? Now he is 100% opposed.

          • 5thDrawer

            Jumblatt’s Team? The ‘switch hitters’. :-))

          • Hannibal

            Change is healthy… 😉

          • Reasonableman

            Interesting must be pretty intense at dinner i can imagine lol. No i don’t even know that name this is all new to me.

          • Leborigine

            So was/is my family. ssnp is good for the uneducated, but once you realise how bad/false their foundations are and the goals that they are trying to achieve, you realise that the whole party is a joke and a waste of time.

          • Hannibal

            Where are you from Leb? and don’t say Australia 😛

          • Leborigine

            lol, I won’t, but you seem to forget easily. I believe I have told you twice so far :-).
            My mom is from B2arizlee in 3akkar and my pop is from the shouf region next to the M3asser

          • Peaceforleb

            Hey Lebo, what happen to the Melbourne storm bro. Got their ass kicked hey. Never mind. Go the Eagle’s.

          • Leborigine

            Hehehe, I don’t follow Storm Peace, I am a Dragon’s supporter. I know its wrong, but when I moved to Sydney in 1992, they were the team of choice and Storm were not around anyway. I must admit, I do not mind the Eagle’s!

          • Peaceforleb

            The dragon’s, Lebo I wont hold it against you. He He He. The Eagle’s by 10 is my prediction.

          • Hannibal

            I guess you did but old age is catching up with me.
            My dad’s mom is from M3asser but both my dad and mom from 3akkar. I am certain that we are somehow relatives. 😉

          • Peaceforleb

            Looks like its time for a good old family reunion.

          • Leborigine

            lol, as long as it is with another Lebanese, any reunion is a good reunion!

          • Peaceforleb

            I think you need to invite 5th, geo, Prophet and Dab as well. You can ask them all to come to the Gold Coast during Scloolies. Although I think you will need to keep you eye on 5th. Not sure how he will go seeing all those young blonds. Lol.

          • Leborigine

            I think I will keep my distance from the Gold Coast for now. The bikies have started a war there, glad my work moved from there last month.

          • 5thDrawer

            I’ll keep my ‘shades’ on … must be some with dark hair … hmmmm

          • Leborigine

            Who knows, we probably are as we both represent the true colours of Lebanon. Phoenician blood, no treason or loyalties to external forces especially to that shithole on our eastern border, and our national pride. 🙂

          • libnan1

            Oh Leb don’t tell me you have maroon color hair … 🙂 Shoufies are it.

          • Leborigine

            I do not have the maroon hair, but a hint of 3akkar blood, which makes me a Shoukar 🙂

          • Leborigine

            Regardless Reasonable, what are you trying to tell me??

          • Reasonableman

            Syria is not a shithole it has a very rich history.

          • Leborigine

            I apologise, but I beg to differ. syria will cease to be a shithole when they stop trying to be Lebanese and stop trying to be part of us by false claims.

          • Reasonableman

            Where do you get your information from then? If this book has been made the best reference to the history of syria (including modern day lebanon and palestine).

          • Hannibal

            only the Alaouite mountains and seaside have a rich history… They are the descendents of the Phoenicians… The rest is Arab 😛 lol

          • Leborigine

            Very true, so do the Assyrians in the north east, but they are not syrian anyway. syria was part of their empire and the Assyrians should take it back

      • Leborigine

        syria never had it good, if living like a dog for 50 years and being continuously spied on is considered good living standards, then I wonder what bad standards are like!

        • 5thDrawer

          In descending order? Try Russia … Cuba … Rhodesia/Zimbabwe … Somalia …

          • IraniAngel

            iran is on top of that list which is why 99% of us want to get the hell outta here.

  • 5thDrawer

    Look Ma. I got voted ‘Poster-Boy’ of 2013.

    • Hannibal

      lol Create a poster… now you have a party.

  • 5thDrawer

    Look Ma. I got voted ‘Poster-Boy’ of 2013.

    • Hannibal

      lol Create a poster… now you have a party.

  • 5thDrawer

    “unify in a clear Islamic frame.” …. In other words, no clarity at all.

  • 5thDrawer

    “unify in a clear Islamic frame.” …. In other words, no clarity at all.