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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Syrian Fighting Groups & Leadership (Part 1)

The war in Syria has swirled around from a Civil war between the opposition and the regime into an all out brawl between various factions and fighting groups. While there is one common enemy in Bashar Al Assad not all groups consider him their top priority.

Free Syrian Army Banner

Free Syrian Army: The FSA were the original armed opposition to fight against the Syrian army and Bashar Al Assads regime after pro-democracy protesters were murdered by the government.

The current leader of the FSA is General Abd Al-llah Al-Bashir. General Al-Bashir took control of the group in February 2014 from then General Salim Idris who was replaced due to the ineffectiveness of the group at that time.

The FSA is backed by the west and receives funding and weapons from the US and their European allies. Their main adversary is the Syrian Army but they have faced off many times against Islamist factions including Jahbat Al Nusra and ISIS who has labeled them apostates. The U.S. along with Arab partners have announced that they are training 5,000 FSA rebels in order to combat ISIS and remove them from the areas under their control in northern Syria.

Islamic Front Banner

Islamic Front: The Islamic front consists of a variety of Islamic groups fighting under one banner. The largest group that makes up the Islamic front is Ahrar Al sham who are considered as "the good guys" among Islamic groups in Syria.

Previously the leader of Ahrar Al Sham Hassan Abboud held a top leadership role in the Islamic front. Abboud along with several other Islamic front leaders were assassinated in a bombing on September 9th. This bombing was accredited to ISIS as an attempt to decapitate the Islamic fronts leadership. Despite the murder of their top brass they stayed focused on the war and assigned Ahmed Issa Al-Sheik also of Ahrar Al Sham to the top leadership role.

Jabhat Al Nusra Banner

Jabhat Al Nusrah: Nusrah also known as JAN are one of these most effective fighting forces combating the Syrian regime.

JAN is Al-Qaedas branch in Syria therefore their overall leader is Ayman Al Zawahiri the leader of Al Qaeda. Their leader and Emir in Syria is Abu Mohamed Al Julani. Jolani and his group were originally dispatched to Syria from Iraq to set up a presence for Al Qaeda in the country.

They quickly established themselves as a formidable fighting force and were the first group to introduce the suicide bomber into the Syrian theatre of war. Their effectiveness in combating the regime made them a welcome guest to the Syrian rebels and when the U.S. state department designated the group as a terrorist organization the Syrian people and rebels stood in solidarity with JAN.

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