Syria – who are the Syrian Free Army?


The answer to my question remains: I do not know much about them. The fact is that I remain deeply disturbed by the length of time that the Syrian crisis has taken to resolve. That length of time has been sufficient to rally those forces that we prefer not to have involved in conflict – namely elements that are involved with Al Qaeda and other lesser known outfits. This is a major difference between the conflict in Syria and that of Libya. In Syria there has been sufficient time for outside forces to enter the country via the Iraq and Turkish borders and the real problem is that those foreign fighters are aligned to Al Qaeda.

It appears that the Syrian Free Army is a very mixed group of men. A lot of them are Syrians and not necessarily with links to Al Qaeda. However, there are others who are now a part of the SFA and these are the ones with links to Al Qaeda as well as other jihadist groups. I am not going to neglect to mention that such an influence in Syria.

What is really troubling about the Syrian situation is in fact the foreign or outside interference. What I mean is not the same as the propaganda that comes from the Bashar al-Assad regime, because the regime is ignoring that they rely upon Russia, China and Iran for assistance. The Russians have been caught attempting to transfer arms to Syria, yet they get all shit-faced because the activity of Bashar al-Assad has literally invited a more extremist outfit to enter that country.

Then there is the latest regarding the Turkey-Syrian border- the Turks are now moving missiles to the border region. Can anything healthy emerge in this conflict?

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5 responses to “Syria – who are the Syrian Free Army?

  1. Here come I, eating my first bite of crow.

    I saw Bibi Netenyahu on Fox News show on Sunday. He says all the Arab Spring happenings all around him are troublesome – and he is yet unwilling to say how it will all turn out.

    But he singled out Libya as a special and different case – and says that will be a definite improvement.

    Being one of the few credible and respectable leaders on the world stage, I believe him. It is looking like you were/are at least partially right and I am at least partially wrong.

    (I hate crow!)

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    • I trust Bibi. It is really nice to know that someone such as Bibi used the same analysis as myself.

      Yes, it is a definite improvement 🙂

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    • I still have a lot of difficulty with the Syrian situation. I never thought of Bashar al-Assad as a person who would behave in the way that he has been behaving. In fact I was wrong about him being some benign person.

      That being said, without knowing more about those behind the SFA I remain torn on the subject. By not responding earlier in the crisis we have allowed other elements to join in the fray.

      My reading of the situation has always been that the bigger players are in control of what is taking place. Assad and Syria remains a puppet of Iran. They are linked to both Russia and China. Syria has been sponsoring terrorism via Hamas and Hezbollah. In other words the Assad regime is a continuing danger in the Middle East.

      Assad belongs to the minority Alawite tribe which is in fact an offshoot of the Shia. This might in part explain the link to Iran. Either way it is not healthy to have a minority tribal leader at the helm in Syria.

      From the outset I have not been able to get a real feel about those who initiated the protests in Syria. I assume that they belong to the majority Sunni population. There have always been reports and comments about Al Qaeda. In fact in the early days there was a general and his family who were killed and the government blamed it on Al Qaeda types.

      Without having studied the background of the people living in the Homs district, I cannot say for certain whether or not they have any allegience to Al Qaeda, let alone to Muslim Brotherhood. For that reason I am unable to comment or analyse fully the situation that exists in Syria.

      HOWEVER, when all of this started Assad sent his army to the border region of Syria. Innocent villagers were mown down by the regime. Some managed to escape into Turkey where they have been refugees. Yes there were soldiers who were killed, but they were not killed by those villagers. They were shot in the back by their own army generals because they refused to participate in the slaughter of innocents. This explains why so many army personnel have escaped into Turkey and have become a part of the SFA.

      There are at least 2 factions fighting Assad. One faction is the ex-army people. They now have some of the top Syrian generals fighting on their side. At the same time there are those Salafists who are aligned with Al Qaeda.

      For the moment, I see this in the same light as the coaliton of the opposition in Libya. There were similar factions who joined together to defeat what had become a common enemy, but in Libya the Islamist factions were not all that strong. I am unable to say the same about Syria because there is not enough information for me to form an opinion.

      The real danger in Syria today is the admission that they have chemical weapons. Ever since the invasion of Iraq I have wondered about what happened to Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons. I always believed that he had enough time to spirit them across the border into Syria for safe-keeping. It looks like I was correct in that assumption. I do not believe that Syria was making its own chemical weapons, but I do believe that Syria has been storing Iraq’s chemical weapons.

      From this point of view, I am extremely wary about those other elements who have joined with the Syrian opposition. I do not trust them to keep away from the chemical weapons. However, Assad is now making noises along the line that if any foreign nation intervenes then he will unleash those chemical weapons.

      My understanding is that Israel has always known about the existence of those weapons, and that their operatives would be willing to dispose of the stockpile if it became necessary.

      I note here that in Libya the opposition and now government forces fully co-operated over those weapons stockpiles, turning them over to the appropriate authorities. On the other hand Gadhafi had allowed some of his stockpile to end up in the hands of the rebels in Mali.

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  2. Carlyle, before you eat the crow, I suggest that you use a bit of marinade, and that you either roast it or use the slow cooker 🙂

    I think it is necessary to keep an eye on Libya for some time to come. What is troubling to me is the fact that some of the Gadhafi family are being sheltered in Nigeria and Algeria and that they have access to mercenaries and money. The family, especially Saadi remain a very real threat. They will probably do nothing because Saif is being held a prisoner. I repeat here that Melinda Taylor, the Australian defense lawyer acted like a real dickhead when she delivered that stuff that came from Saif’s personal assistant. She even claims it was nothing but squiggles and that just goes to show that she should be removed from the case because she cannot be trusted.

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