Syrian Rebel Groups May Join Assad Regime Against Jihadists

By:  Alex Newman
12/19/2013
       
Syrian Rebel Groups May Join Assad Regime Against Jihadists

With the armed conflict between Western-backed Islamists and the Bashar al-Assad regime still raging, recent reports suggest growing unease among some rebel groups and anti-Assad activists with the surge in influence and power of al Qaeda-linked terrorists determined to enslave Syria under brutally enforced Islamic law, or sharia.

The escalating fears have become so serious that some rebel leaders are reportedly considering joining forces with the Assad dictatorship to wage war on Islamic fundamentalists.

As The New American has been documenting almost from the start of the internationally fueled conflict, many of the Sunni jihadists seeking “regime change” have been hard at work exterminating minority groups — Christians and Shia Muslims, for example — in a bid to turn Syria into a hardcore Islamist emirate. Eventually, the goal is a broader Muslim caliphate. While few deny that the current regime in Damascus has a long history of brutality and tyranny, the Assad dictatorship has worked to protect the various minority groups in the nation from Sunni-led jihadist violence.

With rebels gaining ground in some areas of Syria, though, ancient Christian communities and non-Sunni Muslims have been slaughtered — even women and children have not been spared. Meanwhile, many anti-regime activists have also increasingly turned against assorted jihadist rebel factions, including some of the most powerful forces in the conflict. Still, in recent years, news reports have focused on regime forces joining the rebels. Now, media accounts and activists suggest that the tide might be turning as former Assad opponents turn toward the regime in an effort to stop the bloody jihadist advance.

CNN, for example, spoke with several men who said they had joined the rebels, only to re-join the regime when presented with the opportunity. One of the men, 25-year-old Akram Samer Halabi, said he joined the Western establishment-backed “Free Syrian Army” in 2012 because they offered to pay him decently — presumably with taxpayer money coming from some combination of the Obama administration, European governments, assorted Sunni Arab dictators, and other foreign powers seeking “regime change.” Apparently he needed money for food.

When Halabi saw rebel fighters “carry out atrocities against civilians,” however, he decided to flee back to regime-controlled territory, CNN reported, adding that it could not independently verify the stories. Another man, Wael Fadel Ninn, said he had been kidnapped by rebels while selling vegetables and was coerced into the rebel “cause.” When he got the chance to run, though, he did, contacting the Syrian military and fleeing toward it with his weapons.

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Photo of Syrian rebel fighters: AP Images

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