Skirmishes between Syrian rebel factions are nothing new, but seem to be reaching a whole new level today, with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the largest secular rebel group, declaring “war” on Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda linked Islamist faction that is seen as the frontline fighters for most of the war’s major battles.
The two factions have clashed, but have also fought side-by-side in the past. The FSA accused al-Qaeda fighters of killing one of their top commanders yesterday when they met for what was supposed to be a coordination talk.
The declaration may be aimed at speeding pledges of US aid for the FSA fighters, who have been openly backed by the US. The Obama Administration has been keen to see the FSA start fighting al-Qaeda openly, even if it means “temporarily” forgetting about the war with Syria’s government.
In the end, the big winner could be the Assad government, as it divides their two biggest opponents int he civil war, and, if the new fight holds, will keep the FSA from using foreign jihadists to do the heavy lifting in major clashes.