War torn Syria remains a front for control. While the media coverage abounds with attention drawn to ‘the government forces’ and ‘Assad’, the opposition forces are rarely identified. The opposition, rebels, are made up of four prominent groups:
Army of Islam – backed and funded by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, it is an organization operating in the Gaza Strip and closely affiliated with Hamas. They have been accused of carrying out attacks in Egypt including the bombing of a Coptic church in 2011. With a heavy presence in Ghouta, their intent is to create an Islamic state under Sharia. They have operated in conjunction with al-Nusra, an affiliate of al-Qaeda, and merged with Ahrar al-Shem in their design to eliminate Shiites and Alawites from Syria.
Targeting Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine, they have engaged in most battles for control of Syria including Aleppo, Raqqa, Idlib, and now Ghouta. Making the war more complicated is the fact that they are not only opposed to Assad, but ISIL as well.
They have been shown using civilians in Ghouta as human shields, putting them in cages, and kidnapping and enslaving them. They have admitted to using chemical weapons, chlorine gas and other agents, against Kurdish forces and civilians. Infighting between rebel groups as also contributed to the chaos as power struggles wreak havoc.
Failaq al-Rahman – backed and funded by Qatar and Turkey, is a smaller organization that fights – everyone, including; ISIL, Assad, al-Nusra, and sometimes the Army of Islam. They were originally organized by a Syrian Army captain who defected in 2012, and were considered a pet project of McCain and Obama under the auspice of the Free Syrian Army, or FSA before rebranding as Failaq al-Rahman. As such, their funding and support came from NATO and the US.
Their main stronghold was in Jobar where they were able to survive via an ancient cave system that runs beneath the city. In the caves, they were safe from bombs, and could hide weapons and food.
In 2012, they were accused of hording supplies, food, and medicine in Aleppo from civilians in their effort to keep them docile and easily manipulated. The MSM chose to instead report that there was no food or medicine in Aleppo in order to create a false message, ignoring the fact that the FSA was the stronghold at the time.
The eastern side of Jobar was home to mostly Christians before al-Rahman engaged in its terrorism within this city.
The two smaller rebel factions in Ghouta include the Levant Liberation Committee, and Ahrar al Sham. These groups have worked with ISIL and al-Nusra at various times and are also funded by the Saudis. Their size has greatly diminished due to in fighting and disagreements regarding fatwa, ceasefires, mergers and operations. Their goal is to rule Syria and they have offered those services in peace talks as an alternative to Assad or ISIL.
The UN continues to issue statements regarding the escalation of violence in Ghouta, and the humanitarian crisis that continues to be launched. Oddly, they never address Saudi Arabia, Turkey or Qatar in containing their rebel factions. In calling for a ceasefire, they only identify ISIL, al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda as hostile.
In addition, while the UN praises neighboring countries that are housing all the Syrian refugees, they simultaneously chastise these same countries because the refugees are living in utter poverty without basic necessities including education and healthcare. Jordan appears to be the UN target. With roughly 11 million refugees or displaced Syrians, Jordan is currently housing about 630,000. Turkey and Lebanon are housing over 5.6 million…
In the meantime, the US media is focusing on Kurdish forces in Syria fighting ISIS, when ISIS doesn’t appear to be in Ghouta, or their presence is enormously limited. Trump has stated that the goal of eliminating ISIS in Syria has been accomplished for the most part already. Regime change is not a goal. And the remaining factions that the government and Russia are fighting are these rebel groups backed by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. It would appear that Trump sees any intervention outside of ISIS as none of anyone’s business – let the Middle East destroy each other from within, it’s their battle.