Islamists Dominate New Syrian Rebel Coalition

Al-Qaeda, Allies Hold Most of Council Positions

The Revolutionary Command Council, a newly created umbrella group aiming to unite Syrian rebel groups in the north, has unveiled its new council after a three-day organizational meeting.

Far from the “moderate” faction people were expecting, the council is dominated by Islamist factions, particularly those with ties to al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra, and reflects al-Qaeda’s growing influence across northwest Syria.

The group is made up of 72 different groups, all of which have agreed to submit at least 100 fighters to a unified coalition force to fight against the Syrian government.

The moderate factions, in addition to losing most of the council’s executive seats, seems to be failing on the 100 fighters front as well, with many of their factions much smaller than the Islamists, who can much more easily spare 100 fighters for the venture.

It’s a problem that for those secular factions is only going to get worse, as across Idlib Province, Nusra and other Islamists have been routing the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other secular blocs, forcing them into smaller and smaller parcels of territory.

The Revolutionary Council Command does not aim to replace the Coalition of Revolutionary Forces (CORF) faction dominated by the FSA, but rather says it represents people inside of Syria, in contrast to the CORF, which is dominated by exiles.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.