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Inside Syria

Syria: A war within a war?

After more than two years of fighting Syrian government forces, rival opposition factions turn their guns on each other.

Last Modified: 21 Jul 2013 12:22
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After more than two years of fighting the forces of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, opposition fighters have started to turn their guns on each other for power and territory.

The in-fighting has led the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to reiterate their demand for more weapons from the international community.

They want to drive out what they say are al-Qaeda linked opposition fighters. The intensified rivalry among opposition groups comes after Kamal Hamami, a member of the FSA's Supreme Military Council was shot dead in Latakia province in north Syria.

We don't want to make any side wars now, our war [is] only with the regime and to save our civilian inside Syria, but if they want to fight us we have to fight back and we have to save our cities and our liberated areas from those extremist groups because they have their hidden agenda ... 

Louay Almokdad, the political and media coordinator for the Free Syrian Army

Meanwhile, on Tuesday; fighters from the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) announced they will set up a command and control centre in Syria.

A spokesman for the group says the first contingent is ready to start operating alongside opposition rebels. And as many as 150 more are on their way to fight against Syrian government forces.

The Free Syrian Army is now fighting other rebels linked to al-Qaeda for territory and control.

There are several hardline position groups fighting in Syria. The most prominent are the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

It was established as an umbrella organisation of Iraqi insurgent groups in October 2006 under the name of Islamic State of Iraq.

The group has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians as well as members of the Iraqi government and its international allies.

By late 2012 the group was said to have renewed its strength and more than doubled its number of members to about 2,500. 

And in April 2013, the group changed its name to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and became deeply involved in the Syrian civil war.

Another hardline opposition group fighting in Syria is the al-Nusra Front.

The group  was established in January 2012 and since then has used car bombs and suicide attacks in its efforts to bring down the Assad government.

It has around 6,000 members, and is believed to be largely funded and trained by al-Qaeda in Iraq. In April, the head of the organisation pledged its allegiance to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

In this show we discuss the deepening rift amongst Syrian rebels and how the Free Syrian Army may soon be fighting an al-Qaeda linked faction and President Assad’s forces.

Inside Syria with presenter Veronica Pedrosa discusses with guests Louay Almokdad, the political and media coordinator for the Free Syrian Army; Yezid Sayigh, a senior associate at Carnegie Middle East Center; and Haytham Sbahi, a Syrian political activist.

"They [Syrian regime] always called these groups and if they want a dialogue for a future Syria - they are ready; but some of these groups like the SNC and the Free Syrian Army they align themselves with other countries - with western countries and with Saudi Arabia and Qatar. And they didn't understand, they are naive and ill-informed, when they dealt with the western politicians they don't understand when a western politician says 'yes' he means 'maybe' and when he says 'maybe' he means 'no'. And he never says no."

- Haytham Sbahi, a Syrian political activist

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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