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Syria Civil War:Syrian rebels battle forge alliances / Breaking News

Free Syrian Army members raise their weapons as they chant "Allahu akbar" during combat training at Sarmada near Idlib province

Syrian rebels ally themselves increasingly to secure money and weapons from abroad. Have particularly large inflow Islamist alliances. But just at the al-Qaida-related Nusra front threatens trouble.

First there were protests, then a riot, now a civil war: The conflict in Syria has changed radically over the past two and a half years. First, it had to do with regime troops long small, autonomously acting Partisan detachments , now they are faced with several rebel armies.

More and more formerly autonomous units are willing to give up their autonomy and submit to a central command. The reason: Since then send supporters increasingly money and weapons to Syria, there are scattered rebel troops for an incentive to organize themselves into larger structures.

“Armed groups continue to be involved and want to be relevant, must develop contacts to a larger rebel group. Only that they get access to a patron, just so they get some money, “says Aron Lund, a leading expert on Syrian rebel groups. Since the end of last year was therefore observed that banded together small rebel troops. So far, about 10 to 15 loose coalitions have formed, as Lund, who writes for the Swedish Institute of International Affairs.

The unification of the rebel group has allowed observing in recent months, to get an accurate picture of the fighting in Syria. Although the alliances of the rebel troops are constantly in flux, but can be detected structures.

The Syrian Rebel Groups Who fighting Syrian Civil War

Free Syrian Army fighters load an artillery shell in Aleppo's countryside
Free Syrian Army fighters load an artillery shell in Aleppo’s countryside

The Free Syrian Army (FSA), secular and nationalist, but also Islamic units have found a home. The FSA is according to own data from approximately 80,000 men and would become the largest composite troops of the rebels. Commander is General Salim Idris, however, on the battlefield at the conference table is less active and there tirelessly asks for support from abroad. The FSA receives the lion’s share of donations and arms supplies which come from the Western and Arab countries to Syria. This is also the reason why the FSA has so many new members. Meanwhile, the resulting in Homs Faruk battalions have also connected the FSA as the Muslim Brotherhood related Tawheed Brigade.

* Most of the FSA do today but from Islamist groups. These radical groups within the FSA are summarized in subsection Syrian Islamic Liberation Front (SILF). The troops did their dazzling name: Since the Islamic brigades from Damascus, the Brigades of the Martyrs of Syria and the Levant, the hawks from the region Idlib. Their officers claim to have 25,000 men under arms. The SILF follows an ideology that Lund describes as: “Less Assad more Islam.”  The moderate religious coloring of the Force is a logical consequence of the genesis of the uprising against Assad. “Many of these units are the result of small groups with which the conservative rural population has defended himself,” says Lund. Many SILF Brigades to obtain funds from Saudi Arabia.

* Main umbrella organization of the hardliners among the combat troops, the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF), which has been founded in December 2012. You belong among others the alleged 10,000-strong, operating in Aleppo, Hama and Idlib Association Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiya to (“Islamic Movement of free men of Syria”). Total should be organized in the SIF 25,000 men. It considers the fight against Assad as “holy war” and thus a religious duty. Radical preachers in the Gulf States raise money for the SIF, which is fighting for an Islamic state with Sharia as a legal basis. With the front- al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra it only works limited, there are ideological disputes. The SIF rejects any foreign interference into the Civil War. “These groups have great popularity because in the rebel-controlled areas, first there was chaos. Islamist groups, then introduce the Sharia, at least bring back law and order, “says Lund.

The Dschabhat al-Nusra, the “front support for the Syrian people,” understood as the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda. The most radical of all rebel groups, according to Western intelligence estimates have about 5,000 fighters. Theys is the most successful military rebel group, which is active throughout the country. In December 2012, the Nusra front has been classified by the U.S. as a terrorist organization. The Nusra front occasionally collaborates with other units, but not taking any long-term alliances. The great success of Nusra Front And with their declared effective media operations: “If other groups attack a checkpoint in the country, no one hears about it. But if the front Nusra committed suicide attacks in the middle of Damascus, it follows that a media-friendly choreography. ”


Threatening could be the youngest division of the Nusra front: In April, the Syrian section said after a quarrel of their originally Iraqi parent organization going. Now both near-Qaeda groups operating in Syria, their leaders are fighting over who leads the real jihad.  “There is a danger that these groups turn against each other,” says Lund. “Or they could try to outdo each other with spectacular actions.”




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