07 September, 2013

Syria ~ just who is the 'opposition' to the Assad government?

Wm Hague with Ahmad Al-Jarba
The Daily Mail - 5th September - published an article showing the moment when seven of Assad's soldiers were executed on camera by rebels fighting to overthrow the regime.  The soldiers are stripped, bound and pushed to the ground where a number of rebels stand over them pointing guns at their bodies. Some bear vicious injuries on their backs and arms - 'Stripped, bound and shot in the head...'

This appalling scene took place in April 2012.  It is said that the footage has come to light recently having been smuggled out of Syria only a few days ago by a former rebel who says he had become horrified by the brutality of the tactics his one-time comrades are using. He gave the footage to The New York Times.

So, just who are those opposing the Assad regime? The Combating Terrorism Centre has a useful starting point for those seeking an answer to this question - The Non-State Militant Landscape in Syria (27th August 2013).  Pointing out that the uprising against Assad has always been disorganised, the US Defence Intelligence Agency has estimated 1200 rebel groups are opposing Assad.

The British government has pledged support to the Syrian Opposition  In a Foreign and Commonwealth Office announcement of 5th September  it is indicated that the government views the Syrian National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces as the 'sole legitimate representatives' of the Syrian people.

The BBC has a Guide to the Syrian Opposition ...and see the website of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces

The G20 meeting was held in St. Petersburg on 5th and 6th September - HERE - but no consensus emerged as to an international way forward to handle the Syrian crisis - BBC News - G20 divided on Syria.

The Syrian Opposition has condemned the killings featured in the Daily Mail article - see, for example, Washington Times 5th September