A handful of Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee have gone off to Turkey to create their own “historic” coalition of rebel factions which pledged to attack both ISIS and the Assad government.
Led by Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R – IL) and George Holding (R – NC), the coalition was said to include “more than 20 Syrian rebel commanders,” though it appeared to be little more than the nominal leadership of the Free Syrian Army and the miniscule Syriac Military Council. The groups called on the US to expand their airstrikes beyond ISIS and al-Qaeda and against Assad’s military as well.
The Syriac Military Council, which is a militia affiliated with Syria’s Christian minority, has fought a handful of battles against ISIS and al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra, mostly unsuccessfully. The rare occasions when the group was on the winning side of battles was when they worked alongside Kurdish factions.
The new coalition doesn’t appear to have much momentum behind it, nor is it clear if the assorted members have been part of the “vetted, moderate” rebel factions the US intends to arm. It is primarily noteworthy in that it appears to have been created by Congressmen independent of the administration’s own efforts at coalition-building.