At a G20 news conference today European Council President Donald Tusk, continuing the propaganda war over Syria between the West and Russia, has used the attacks in France to further the Western narrative of moderate democratic rebels saying:
‘For sure the cooperation between the United States and Russia is a crucial one, I have no doubts, but we need maybe also not only more coordination and cooperation but also more goodwill. And (looks at notes) I mean that especially Russian actions on the ground in Syria must be focused more on ISIS, because in fact we can’t accept any actions against moderate Syrian opposition.’
This is despite little clarity still on exactly who and how many moderate democratic rebels are actually operating in Syria with estimates varying by tens of thousands.
Many groups and coalitions operate within Syria that oppose IS but espouse similar views and envisage the establishment of an Islamic State with the implementation of Sharia Law. Such Islamic groups contain large numbers of fighters and are highly influential within Syria’s opposition, see related information previously posted on The WIDER View below:
As recently reported by Reuters, moderate groups are being eclipsed by large, more fundamentalist Islamic groups and coalitions. Groups and coalitions like, but not restricted to, Jabhat al Nusrah, The Islamic Front, Ahrar al Sham, Sham Legion and the Army of Conquest (Jaish al Fatah / Jaysh al Fateh).
Quote: ‘A number of rebel groups vetted by states opposed to Assad have been supplied with weapons via Turkey, part of a programme supported by the United States and which has in some cases included military training by the Central Intelligence Agency.
These groups fight under the banner of the “Free Syrian Army” – a loose affiliation of rebels that do not operate with a centralised command structure and have been widely eclipsed by jihadist groups such as the Nusra Front and Islamic State.’
Operations conducted by the opposition to president Assad’s government have been led by groups such as Jabhta al Nusrah (al Qaeda in Syria) who have proven time and again to be the more effective fighting force, fundamental in some cases to achieving victory in previous battles and respected by those who fight with them.
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Anne Patterson recently reported to the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Jabhat al Nusrah (al Qaeda in Syria) have already absorbed previously deemed Western moderate groups but this was not picked up by main stream media outlets.
If previous groups deemed moderate by the West have joined Jabhat al Nusrah (al Qaeda) in Syria, what is to stop current Western deemed moderate groups doing to the same in the future or joining other influential fundamentalist Islamic groups and taking Western supplies with them?
Can the West be confident that supporting the opposition, repeated time and again, will produce the democratic free Syria that Western politicians claim they wish to see?
To highlight the complicated situation further, in July 2015, foreign relations head of Ahrar al Sham Labib Al Nahhas wrote in the Washington Post:
‘American policy has so narrowly defined the term “moderate” that it excludes most opposition groups in the country, including Ahrar al-Sham’.
‘Stuck inside their own bubble, White House policymakers have allocated millions of US taxpayer dollars to support failed CIA efforts to support so-called ‘moderate’ forces in Syria’.
- Washington Post article (10 July 2015) – The deadly consequences of mislabeling Syria’s revolutionaries:
Despite the carefully written article painting a moderate view, Ahrar al Sham is a fundamentalist Islamic group that opposes IS but wishes to achieve a Sharia led Sunni Islamic state of Syria.
It is part of the Islamic Front and Jaish al Fatah / Jaysh al Fateh fundamentalist Islamic coalitions as seen from the logos in the images below.
See below a number of recent articles regarding Ahrar al Sham.
- The Long War Journal article (25 Oct 2015) – Al Nusrah Front, Ahrar al Sham, Ajnad al Sham form anti-Russian alliance in Damascus countryside:
- Reuters article (22 Sep 2015) – Resilient insurgent group Ahrar al-Sham to play bigger role in Syria:
If such ignorance persists, policy is not modified to suit the ever changing reality on the ground and the opposition eventually topple Assad’s government (despite Russian, Iraqi and Iranian support), Syria it seems will become a Sunni Islamic state under Sharia Law and not the free democratic society that the West has always insisted is the goal.