Split poles: Syrian "fighters" are to be opposed against "terrorists"

Split poles: Syrian "fighters" are to be opposed against "terrorists" | Русская весна

Syrian military expert and politologist explained "Russian Spring" intricate connections inside snaky knot of terror organizations which occuppied part of the country.

Against persistent insurgency and ongoing offensive of the governmental forces command of various terror illegal armed groups is serioisly concerned with pre-existing alliances.

At the moment shapes of the IAG fighting in Syria are changing like that: "Ahrar ash-Sham" is coming to the foregroundin the North. Its headquarters is located in Idlib. With support of Turkey and probably Qatar the group expells all the henchmen of the Saudi special services and Wahhabi organizations from top positions. Syrian Turkmen groups are coopting with "Ahrar ash-Sham" in Latakia mountains (Jebel Turkuman area) and near Aleppo. Local brigades are joining "Ahrar ash-Sham" in Aleppo. If in the mountains of Latakia they are fighting against Syrian Arab Army then near Aleppo they have also resumed offensive against ISIS*.

At the moment "Ahrar ash-Sham" is trying to swallow brigades in Al-Gab plain and those to the north of Hama (area between Maarrat al-Nu'man in the south of Idlib governorate and nothern outskirts of Hama), they are also making their presence visible near Damascus (Douma area) and sending envoys to the South, visiting islamists in Hauran area — governorates of Quneitra, Daraa, Suwayda.

Main problem for "Ahrar ash-Sham" command remains the controversy between group leaders and relationships with the previous partners from "Al-Qaeda"*. "Ahrar ash-Sham" political wing welcomed in Istanbul, Doha and Europe along with the other "Syrian opposition representatives" has voiced support of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party before perliamentary elections in Turkey. Now the main task inside the group is eliminaion of the old military wing leaders.

Actual agenda is elimination of as-Sadyk — Salafi preacher basically performing duties of supreme mufti until recently — leading ideology commissioner of "Ahrar ash-Sham»". Existing until recently junction of "Ahrar ash-Sham" and "Jabhat an-Nusra" lost its importance. Different groups faced necesity to choose whom to join. To smoothen direction change for common fighters new umbrella brand was established in Al-Gab — Hama — southern Idlib region for antigovernmental organizations: "Jaish an-Nasr" ("Army of Victory"). Its aim was to replace imagionary "Free Syrian Army" and unite those who obeyed "Jabhat an-Nusra" before. 

Afterwards according to initial idea of project managers from Turkey and Qatar "Ahrar ash-Sham", "Jaish an-Nasr", "Jaish al-Islam" and some other groups were to merge into "National Liberation Army" — the so called "legal" "Syrian opposition". But before that it was necessary to get rid of previous links to "Jabhat an-Nusra" recognized as terror organization at international level.

The thing is that "Jabhat an-Nusra" is officially "Al-Qaeda" affiliate in Syria and its leader Abu Muhammad al-Julani is granted with powers by Ayman az-Zawahiri, present leader of the world’s most famous terror group. Some time ago az-Zawahiri addressed everyone to combine "Al-Qaeda" and ISIS efforts in the face of common threat. This appeal was posted in Internet. Authenticity of this appeal is verified by "Jabhat an-Nusra" fighters’ actions in Syria: they are now colalborating with ISIS* in Aleppo area.

Moreover some time ago "Nusra" fighters captured and killed two "Jabhat Shamiya" commanders whose people were fightng against ISIS.

However number and influence zone of «Jabhat an-Nusra» in Syria have significantly reduced. Not only because of losses due to Russian airstrikes and governmental offensive.

As it’s been said before "Ahrar ash-Sham" prohibits their fighters to assocoaite with "Al-Qaeda" and its afiliates in Syria and calls all the locals to join them. So emerges certain opposition between those who are usually called ‘fighters’ in Syria — the Syrians who joined illegal armed groups and «terrorists» — non-resident islamists commonly believed to be mercenaries.

"Jaish al-Islam" consisting of different Damascus groups has also come over to "Ahrar ash-Sham".

"Jabhat an-Nusra" supporters are captured and prisoned, some of them are tortured to death.

Discontent foreigners are often shot dead.

In Al-Gab plain, Hama and Homs regions the situation is way more calm though combats between non-resident terrorists and local fighters become more and more often. It’s complicated by the fact that "Ahrar ash-Sham" and its allies have not yet got full grasp of all the various groups operating there.

Besides there are plenty of foreigners. Part of them are Turkish oriented, that’s why they can deal with "Ahrar ash-Sham". The other part is funded and supplied by intenational Wahhabi structures and by Saudi Arabia, so they are looking towards «Al-Qaeda».

"Jaish ul-Fath" leader Abdallahal-Muhaysini position is not quite clear. Untel rcently he was believed to be an ideologist close to «Al-Kaeda» and «Jabhat an-Nusra» commander Aby Muhammad al-Julani. «Jayish al-Fath» incorporates different groups in Al-Gab — Hama — Idlib area. Herewith Muhaysini announced an exclusion of «Jund al-Aqsa» group from «Jaish al-Fath». The mentioned «Jund al-Aqsa» group addressed an allaince proposal to ISIS. Which was condemned by both «Jabhat an-Nusra» command and «Ahrar ash-Sham», despite the fact that the latter was at loggerheads with «Jund al-Aqsa» recently.

And if «Jabhat an-Nusra» didn’t like the exclusion of «Jund al-Aqsa» because of «unity destruction and disintegration» among terrorists, then «Ahrar ash-Sham» commanders used it to announce fighter’s coalitions management crisis. Making big fat hints to «new solutions» necessity.

Widely advertized united offensive to Hama failed exactly because of controversies and rivalry among different groups' commanders. Despite numerous foreign mercenaries inflow offensive succes turmed out to be doubtful and ended up in taking two small towns previously left by governmental forces and covered with fire attacks some time later.

Advance attempt towards much more strategically important Skeyke and Atshan was died out by governmental artillery fire which killed several filed commanders at once.

Quite different situation is being observed in the area between Homs and Hama. Local fihters are partially controlled by the islamists. Big losses and lack of weapons made them accept «help» from «Jabhat an-Nusra» though certain clashes have already happened between the non-residents and locals. Moreover part of the fighters in Al-Ganto, Er-Rastan and Telbis was ready to surrender as they were half entrapped.

But in those regions certain range of remaining former Syrian establishment members are highly influential despite the fact they had left the country after the conflict commenced. After all the attempts made by «Ahrar ash-Sham» envoys to bring fighters in the South to their side were unsuccesful.  ISIS has won certain positions in Daraa and Suwayda governorates, in Al-Quneitra governorate the West and Israel are succesful in maintaining combativity of the groups consolidated under "Free Syrian Amy" brand.

However it is still obvious that there will be certain attempts to mould a united front from all the terror groups clay. Efficiency of the whole idea is doubtful because local heads’ conflict of interests has proved to be much more important until recently than foreign tutors’ wishes.

So the issue is obvious: ISIS still remains main threat factor in Syria as it disposes of well-armed, experienced and organized military force. Russian airstrikes have significantly disrupted offensive capabilities of ISIS terrorists by foiling massive offensive planned for autumn.

Still ISIS remains threatening and dangerous enemy which is actually opposed only by Syrian Arab Army and national defemce forces in ground battles. \

Ibragim Abu, Syrian military expert and politilogist, exclusively for «Russian Spring».

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