Jihadists Vie for Supremacy in Syria

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The Faroukh Battalion is by far the largest jihadist group in Syria, boasting about 5,000 fighters. They are considered Salafists and are also the largest fighting force in the opposition. They proved themselves in the fight for Homs where it is estimated they lost 30% of their force. They have a large contingent of Syrian army defectors, but they refuse to join the FSA, preferring to remain independent.

There is also believed to be a brigade of Libyan jihadists, and a loosely organized group of Palestinians, Libyans, and Syrians known as the Tawid Brigade. The foreign fighters come from most Arab states, as well as the caucuses, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. There are even fighters from Great Britain, as a British reporter discovered when he was captured by two jihadists trying to sneak into Syria:

“I ended up running for my life, barefoot and handcuffed, while British jihadists — young men with south London accents — shot to kill,” Cantlie wrote of the pair’s attempted escape early in their captivity.

“They were aiming their Kalashnikov at a British journalist, Londoner against Londoner in a rocky landscape that looked like the Scottish Highlands,” he wrote.

Recently, there was an effort to unite the jihadists into a single organization. A group calling itself the “Syrian Revolutionaries Front” has been trying to get off the ground without much luck. But as the jihadists get organized and better armed, a natural alliance among like-minded Islamists may emerge to challenge the FSA for supremacy. This may be facilitated by a change in the flow of arms to Syrian rebels. Currently, most of the arms come in through Turkish conduits made possible by US intelligence and communications. But some of the arms distributors are unhappy about restrictions placed on who gets the weapons and may seek to set up their own distribution network that would include jihadists.

That would be a disastrous turn of events and would not bode well for the post-Assad political environment. The jihadists have already established their hatred of Alawites, Christians, Druze, and other Syrian minorities. Sectarian massacres and the mass flight of refugees would be a consequence if the extremists managed to get their hands on sophisticated weapons and sought to impose their will.

This is why the FSA says they will fight the Islamists after Assad is gone to prevent the revolution from degenerating into chaos. A high ranking FSA officer told the BBC that the FSA sees the jihadists as “a real threat after the Assad regime falls,” adding, “The jihadists’ ideology contradicts with what the FSA is fighting for.”

That may be true. But in a worrying sign of what might be coming, a commander in Saraqib told the New York Times that after inviting some jihadists into the local military council, they rejected all names for the expanded group that included any references to Syria. “They consider the entire world the Muslim homeland, so they refused any national, Syrian name,” he said.

A video surfaced of the fight in Aleppo with a song playing in the background: “The Koran in our hands, we defy our enemy, we sacrifice with our blood for religion”  were some of the lyrics.

And an member of the Local Coordinating Committee complained in an interview:

“[T]he Islamic current has broken into the heart of this revolution.” When a Muslim Brotherhood member joined his group in Idlib, he said, inside of a week the man demanded that the slogans that they shouted all included, “There is no god but God.”

“Now there are more religious chants than secular ones,” Adel groused.

Ammar Abdulhamid, one of the most knowledgeable observers of the Syrian civil war, told Prof. Barry Rubin that whoever is running the military opposition to Assad will have a leg up on the political front when the war ends. “The main actors have to be derived from the ranks of the revolutionary movement inside Syria. Only when such actors become in charge can the Syrian people be assured that their revolution has succeeded.”

If those “main actors” are jihadists, it will make things difficult for Syria, for the region, and for US interests in the future.

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  • melvin polatnick

    Enter text right here!Macho Islamic violence is increasing with the opportunity for Arabs to get heavier weapons. Muslim men want Sharia Law and will attempt to bury those that interfere with the will of Allah and his Prophet. Giving Arab women the opportunity to become independent by earning their own income will curb Macho Islamism. Free higher education must be available and 75% of government jobs must go to women graduates. Female dominance in the Arab world will end Macho Islamism. Lazy Arab men will be deprived of sexual pleasure; they will then learn how to please women not the Prophet.

  • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ JasonPappas

    Jihadists will never put down their arms. Syria will live with constant terrorist attacks from here on. The people of Syria will have to face the inherent problem of the Islamic religion. Let's remember that Algeria welcomed Salafists and had constant internal warfare for most of the 1990s in which 100,000 or more were killed.

    Syria is just beginning to deteriorate. Syria has twice the problems. It has both types of Islam: Sunni and Shiite. We should stand back and let them kill each other. We didn't create Islam and we can't end it. Let them experience the full meaning of Islam … and then see if they still want it.

    • Gee

      Actual number is more than 1 million dead, not 100,000.

  • Katharina Sri

    I don't believe such propaganda lies, I suspect coming form the Obama’s REGIME that some of the Jihadists worked for the Syrian Govt! This article make it sound as if the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is legitimate and credible despite that it is dominated by the Islamic-Arabic Nazi Muslim Brotherhood – which actually is more vicious than the other devils Iran or Hezbollah. Since the MB is intent on world domination/OIL/MINERAL and that all kinds of evil Jihadist terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, Taleban, Hamas, Salafist, Nigeria’s Boko Haram and Somalia’s al-Shabaab are all actually created/sponsored by the Saudi-Qatar royals/Muslim Brotherhood. Osama bin Laden might be just a small fish in this big dirty and most dangerous game played by Obama and his beloved Saudi king and the MB! And by the way, War Criminal Obama/Cameron’s REGIMES do provide arms although supposedly “non-lethal” – yeah right! Arming “non-lethally” Jihadist terrorists to topple a legitimate govt (imagine this happening in the West – so the Western police & army won’t use tanks and weapons to capture and defend itself & its people from Jihadist terrorists?) is a WAR-CRIME!

    • Katharina Sri

      I mean to say, "Since the Muslim Brotherhood is intent on supremacist, racist, sexist and violent (both psychological/physical) world domination/slavery (especially of women/girls in evil Saud-iArabic veils)/destruction of Israel-Jews & Christians & OIL/MINERAL ROBBERY!"

      • Fred Dawes

        The facts are in the open now all we have to do is look who is behind this evil acts by insane people.

    • Fred Dawes

      some work for obamas CIA Others do not the evildoers can only be understood after the next attack on this country.

    • adrian

      you talk non sense, O K S, the princess of satan…


      I hope all your bad mouth would be returned by Allah to you, your family, and your people in the future. amen.

      look at the islamtoday.com to search the truth

    • adrian

      Who is Katharina Sri?
      I wonder whether this person claiming to be “Katharina Sri” is really genuine or not. I did a Google search for this person’s name and this troll has been appearing on many Malaysian blogs for some reason and signing off with the words “Katharina Sri (former Noor Aza Othman), Germany”. It is very strange for someone who claims to be an apostate to disclose her “Muslim name” publicly. In my past encounters with apostates (especially Malay apostates), they will do their utmost to conceal their identity. At least until their cover gets blown.

      In response to her “thank you, Christ” remark in nearly every blog comment she signs off with, we would like to remind her that her so-called “Christ” (actually not the Messiah Isa a.s. himself but just some half-naked Jewish criminal swinging from a Roman cross) cannot even save himself from death and even cried out “Eli eli lama sabachtani” for help, so how can one expect her “Christ” to save them and thank that “Christ” for it?

      Indeed, Christianity is such a stupid religion that it is not even worth considering by the sane mind.

  • AntiSharia

    There are no winners here. No matter who wins there will be an anti American and anti Israel government in Damascus. Let them keep killing each other.

    • Fred Dawes

      you can see facts thank you.

  • Drakken

    Let these savages slaughter each, the more they do that will be less jihadist for us to deal with later.

  • stuart Parsons

    No comment from he who moves and thinks slowly slowly. I hope you are not ill Schlo.

  • flowerknife_us

    Syria needs to be debilitated as an organized military force. Rendering their vast Armory noneffective,unreliable and poorly commanded helps Israel strategically. Keep this pot of soup boiling. No one wants to eat it so just let it cook down to nothing.

  • Wordcrunch991

    Moran's narrative will not withstand scrutiny. Even casual analysis of the videos from Syria showing FSA fighters (purportedly Syrian army deserters) reveals the fighters' lack of military training, discipline and coordinated action which belies familiarity with a regular army command. The fighters on the clips are nearly always shown in hit-and-run sorties, screaming "allahu akhbar". The FSA appears to be more less a phantom army, a product of wishful thinking of the inexperieced reporters for the networks and calculated deception by the US State Department, rather than even a semi-organized fighting force. I have yet to see a clip of a commander in Syria who does not look like a mujehad. The defecting officers from Assad forces appear to have no standing in the military activity. The western mainstream media perpetrate a massive, cynical fraud not dissimilar to Kosovo, where a criminal organization with ties to radical Islam was sold as freedom fighters opposing genocidal designs of the Serbs.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Orks, Goblins, Jihadists, what next for Syria, nice neighborhood, will Nancy Pelosi go back
    with classy Sean Penn for another photo-op and promote Democracy alla the Dark Lord?
    Assad's friends seem to have walked but there is always the Iranians and Russians and
    Chicoms to keep him company, Assad has not lost yet and is still very dangerous.
    It is reported in the netherworld that the evil forces in Syria are eying Hillary as their
    Queen, imagine that………………………………….William

  • Fred Dawes

    Jihadists moneys will never get out of the way, and the monkeys have many inside the obama camp that want to help with the jihad plan of evil. If we as a people let the monkeys win we as a people are a doomed people.

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