Syrian rebels: Too fragmented, unruly
ISTANBUL / ALEPPO
This undated handout photo by the SNC shows Semir Nashar (L), a senior member of the SNC, working on a map with unidentified militants from al-Fatah, al-Tawhid and Jabhat al-Nusra in Aleppo. REUTERS photo
There are more than 30 different rebel groups, including the most prominent rebel group, the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA), fighting in Syria, according to officials from the most prominent Syrian opposition group, the Syrian National Council (SNC).
The Jihadists, Islamists, pro-al-Qaida and secular groups that are not under the control of the FSA and which are fighting in different areas of Syria against the Syrian regime forces prove how fragmented and disorganized the Syrian rebel groups were in Syria.
According to the SNC media officer, Ahmad al-Halabi, there are more than 30 opposition groups fighting in Syria – of whom only 15 could be identified by Hürriyet Daily News research. “Fifty armed men come together and they form a rebel group. They generally give their groups names from the Quran or the names the towns and areas they are coming from,” Ahmad al-Halabi told the Daily News.
According to SNC officials, there were between 70,000 and 100,000 rebels fighting against the Syrian regime in Syria. The most prominent rebel group, the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) – who listed its main base as in the southern Turkish city of Hatay on its website – is the best connected with the SNC.
Click here to see a full size version of the map showing different rebel groups in Syria (PDF).
“Some groups such as the al-Tawhid and al-Fatah brigades consider themselves part of the FSA, however mostly they don’t listen to the orders of the regional leaders of the FSA,” he added.
The Turkey representative of the SNC, Khaled Khoja, also said the rebel groups aside from the FSA in Aleppo generally don’t listen to the orders of the regional FSA leader, Abdulcabbar Agadi.
“We cannot talk about a chain of command amongst these groups,” he added.
SNC Executive Committee member Semir Nashar has just met three different leaders from three different rebel groups fighting in Aleppo where heavy clashes have been going on between the rebels and regime forces for one month.
“Nashar has met one rebel from Jabhat al-Nusra which is al-Qaida in Syria, another one from the al-Fatah Brigade and another one from the al-Tavhid Brigade in an effort to unite them,” another member of the SNC, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Daily News.
The SNC member said mainly Chechens, Libyans and a few Afghans were fighting on the fronts in Syria. “Most of them fight in Syria to be martyrs,” he added.