Like Afghan Counterparts, Syrian Rebels Now Using IEDs

IEDs are inherently indiscriminate weapons, yet Washington continues to support these rebel militias

by John Glaser, July 24, 2012

The Syrian rebel militias have learned how to make improvised explosive devices and plan to make them a primary tool in the increasingly guerrilla-style war against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

“Presents for Bashar al-Assad, we are holding a party for him here and in Aleppo,” one rebel fighter planting the bombs told The Independent. “It will be like the party in Damascus, lots of fireworks.”

The resiliency and effectiveness of the insurgency in Afghanistan rested in large part on their use of IEDs. They have been one of the foremost causes of death for NATO troops and civilians and their use in Syria is in its infancy, but shows just how much more deadly and protracted this conflict can get.

It is known that the Syrian opposition has at least some ties to al-Qaeda and that rebel militias have committed serious crimes, but the introduction of IEDs into the conflict blurs the lines that much more between these fighters and those Washington considers its mortal terrorist enemies in Afghanistan.

IEDs are, by their nature, indiscriminate weapons. Most of the ones in the hands of Syrian rebels, according to The Independent, are home-made, but the US and its allies continue to send both lethal and non-lethal aid to these rebels, despite their use of IEDs and despite not knowing who it is that is even receiving this aid.

The Obama administration has officially “abandoned efforts for a diplomatic settlement” in favor of “increasing aid to the rebels and redoubling efforts” at regime change, according to the New York TimesMany interventionist voices in Washington claim that such increased support will stem the violence, but the rebels’ resort to this kind of guerrilla warfare illustrate just how much more violent and extended this increasingly sectarian conflict can get.

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