US Report: Schisms, Fighting between Syria Rebels

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Middle East
Monday, 15 April 2013


rabelThe Washington Post US daily reported Saturday that Syrians fear of another war between the so-called "moderate fighters" and the extremists who emerged more recently with the muscle and firepower to drive the rebel advance.

The al-Qaeda-affiliated "Islamic State of Iraq" announced Tuesday that it had formally merged with Jabhat al-Nusra, with the two groups to be known jointly as the "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant."
Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, Jabhat al-Nusra's leader, confirmed that he had a close relationship with the "Islamic State of Iraq" and had fought alongside them in Iraq before relocating to Syria in July 2011.

Last week, a Saudi and two Tunisian fighters were killed when tribal leaders sought to prevent Jabhat al-Nusra fighters from entering the village of Misrib in Deir al-Zour. In Shahadi, an oil town in Hasakah province, Jabhat al-Nusra fighters opened fire on demonstrators protesting the group's presence in the town on two occasions in the past month.
"They have the Syrian economy in their hands, and they are very strong. You can see their black flags everywhere you go," a tribal leader said in an interview in the Turkish border town of Sanliurfa.

Rumors swirl that tribes are hoping to form a "Sahwa," or Awakening, movement similar to the one that the United States sponsored to quell al-Qaeda in Iraq.

But most Syrians say they don't want a fight, even as they acknowledge the growing divide. "Everyone knows what happened in Iraq, and we want to avoid that," said Hamid al-Atullah, a spokesman for al-Jabhat al-Jazeera wa Furat, a coalition of battalions formed to counter the influence of the radicals.
"The Syrian revolution started for democracy, and Jabhat al-Nusra are not fighting for democracy. But they are Syrians, and we don't want any clash with them," the spokesman added.

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According to the report, schisms are emerging among rebel groups over ideology, the shape of a future Syrian state and control of the significant resources concentrated in this long-neglected but crucial corner of the North.
"Fighting is unavoidable," said Abu Mansour, a commander with the so-called "Free Syrian Army's" Farouq Brigades, whose men clashed last month with those of the extremist Jabhat al-Nusra movement in the border town of Tal Abiyad, one of several instances in which the tensions have erupted into violence. "If it doesn't happen today, it will happen tomorrow."

The al-Qaeda-affiliated "Islamic State of Iraq" announced Tuesday that it had formally merged with Jabhat al-Nusra, with the two groups to be known jointly as the "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant."
Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, Jabhat al-Nusra's leader, confirmed that he had a close relationship with the "Islamic State of Iraq" and had fought alongside them in Iraq before relocating to Syria in July 2011.

Last week, a Saudi and two Tunisian fighters were killed when tribal leaders sought to prevent Jabhat al-Nusra fighters from entering the village of Misrib in Deir al-Zour. In Shahadi, an oil town in Hasakah province, Jabhat al-Nusra fighters opened fire on demonstrators protesting the group's presence in the town on two occasions in the past month.
"They have the Syrian economy in their hands, and they are very strong. You can see their black flags everywhere you go," a tribal leader said in an interview in the Turkish border town of Sanliurfa.

Rumors swirl that tribes are hoping to form a "Sahwa," or Awakening, movement similar to the one that the United States sponsored to quell al-Qaeda in Iraq.

But most Syrians say they don't want a fight, even as they acknowledge the growing divide. "Everyone knows what happened in Iraq, and we want to avoid that," said Hamid al-Atullah, a spokesman for al-Jabhat al-Jazeera wa Furat, a coalition of battalions formed to counter the influence of the radicals.
"The Syrian revolution started for democracy, and Jabhat al-Nusra are not fighting for democracy. But they are Syrians, and we don't want any clash with them," the spokesman added.

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