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US explores ties with Syrian Islamist rebels, possibly Assad too – for a lineup to fight al Qaeda

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DEBKAfile
December 16, 2013

The Obama administration is again doubling back on its Syrian war policy, this time engaging in a secret approach to the Islamic Front, the most powerful force now battling the Assad regime. Recently set up by six Muslim militias with 40-50,000 fighting men, the new front is led by Hassan Aboud Abu Abdullah al-Hamawi and his Ahrar al Sham militia.
DEBKAfile’s counter-terrorism forces report that, although its Salafist members aspire to impose Sharia law on Syria, in common with Al Qaeda, they are against its methods of warfare.

On Dec. 11, fighters of the Islamic Front seized Free Syrian Army headquarters, the Syrian Military Council, and weapons warehouses, as well as the Bab al-Hawa crossing from northwestern Syria into Turkey. This was a devastating setback for FSA, once the leading rebel force against Bashar Assad, and virtually extinguished the group as an effective fighting force after its recent setbacks.

It was bad enough for its commander, Brig. Gen. Salim Idris, to flee to Qatar. Despite protestations to the contrary, he is unlikely to return to Syria in the hurry.

Announcing the cut-off of “non-lethal assistance to the opposition in northern Syria,” Washington more or less turned its back on the FSA and launched an approach to its vanquisher.

Full article here

This article was posted: Monday, December 16, 2013 at 6:52 am





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