Syrian Rebels Condemn Safe Zones as ‘Illegitimate’

Clashes Reported in Hama as Safe Zones Take Effect

The Saudi backed High Negotiations Committee of Syrian rebels today angrily condemned the agreement to establish safe zones for civilians in Syria, insisting that the plan was “illegitimate” and meant to “partition the country” with the establishm4ent of demilitarized areas.

This opposition echoes complaints from other rebel factions yesterday when the plan was initially announced. The US nominally supports the safe zones, though they have insisted they will not respect them if they decide they want to carry out attacks in those areas.

Fight around the safe zones has mostly been reduced since they went into effect overnight, though there was some report of fighting near a safe zone in Hama Province, with rebels and the Syrian military contesting a village. The rebels insisted the Syrian military was to blame for the fighting.

Russia, Iran, and Turkey are all serving as guarantors of the safe zones, which puts substantial pressure on the Syrian government to respect them, as well as on the Turkish-backed subset of rebels. The Saudi-backed rebels, however, are expected to ignore it outright.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • eric

    Demilitarized safe zones ruin the Islamic extremists main battle plan . There are so few innocent civilians to hide behind they can’t fight their gorilia style war . There really not very many of them and they are easy to defeat when they are alone . SO the Supporters of the rebels don’t want safe areas . They want it like they have it using propaganda to tell the world how many innocent civilians the other side is killing

    • John Ellis

      Ditz must have plagiarized an article put out today by the UK Guardian, almost word for word.

      • Jeffrey Fein

        I don’t understand your beef with Jason. Antiwar.com is a news aggregater site with a dopple of comment by the aggregater. That’s hardly plagiarism. If there’s any “fakenews” it would be because it’s “fakenews” at the source.

    • Adriaan de Leeuw

      which means it ruins the US battle Plan!

  • John Ellis

    Ditz fake news — In spades

    The Saudi funded “Syrian rebels” are less then 5% of the terrorists now destroying Syria, the “other rebel factions” are all the other terrorists in Syria and why their opinion should comprise 90% of this article is what the Ditz fake news is all about.

  • Bianca

    While I sympathize with those having to comment on the latest twist in Syrian saga — there are strategies we can all use to help us stay on the top of events. Rule number one — there are nob”rebels”. All groups have name, and they all are essentially divided into four categories, plus Kurds. First two groups represent international terrorist networks — ISIS and Al-Qaeda plus their affiliates, the thitd group consists of Islamists (Salafi) local warlords, and the fourth are hundreds of groups of former Free Syrian Army, majotity of them today work under Turkish command. But not all — some are with Al-Qaeda derivatives in Idlib. So — when we say that someone disagrees with the safe zones — it does matter who exactly it is. For example, I know of no group today that is taking orders from the High Negotiating Commitee. These are Shmed Chalabis of this world, would be power brokers in some version of US or Saudi run Syria. The committee is trying to impose control over warlords, through money and weapons smuggling. But if you are one of those leaders — and started your militia in the hsy dwys of “Assad mudt go” times, today, being surrounded by government troups, and expecting being abandoned by one’s own fighters — the choice of relying on Saudi Arabia is no longer such a sure bet. Thus — if local warlords accept the deal, a Committee in Riyadh is powerless. Groups associated with Al-Qaeda will not agree — of course. But they do not count. Kurds do not like it — as they do not have any leverage in this process. And the opinion of Al-Qaeda under whatever new fancy name — is irrelevant. But AlNusra still has backers in the West, and keeps on trying to insert itself into the process. Al least ISIS is not commenting, sparing us their views.

    As it stands now, the largest numbers of warlord run Islamic groups are in Idlib, about 15,000. Then about 10,000 in Homs and East Goutha, and again about 15,000 in two regions on Jordan border. For as long as they are encircled by government forces — along with Al-Qaeda — they will continue fighting against government, as they do not have a way out. Now, all that remains to AlQaeda groups is to hide behind these local warlords, and use their humanitarian supplies. Now, these groups have options — and this is the reason they came to Astana. They are seeking way out. Their motivation is — they are local, while AlQaeda and ISIS groups are majotity from other countries. This is the reason they are transported to Idlib.
    Turkey will take on Idlib, but only to secure the safety of non-Al-Qaeda groups in the region.

    It is amazing hearing the complaint about dividing Syria -/ it is trully rich when it comes from those who advocated partition of Syria. All that is happening is an attempt to give population a breathing room, and a chance for local militia to return to civilian life.
    Those COMPLAINING would be wise go focus on ISIS, as clearly they were not bothered much all these years. Or else, let Syrian Army finish the job. Turkey can do ghe job too. Time yo just get out of the way.