Secular Syria Rebels: Muslim Brotherhood ‘Delaying Victory’

Islamist Political Leadership Getting in the Way, Fighters Say

They aren’t quite as severe as the open fighting between Jabhat al-Nusra and other rebel fighters, but the divisions within even the “mainstream” of Syria’s rebel seem to be widening, with Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters condemning the Muslim Brotherhood.

Brotherhood-backed officials are the bulk of the political leadership of the Syrian National Coalition (CORF), and were the driving force behind the approval of Texas’ Ghassan Hitto as the “prime minister in exile.” They are also seen as averse to recently resigned rebel President Moaz al-Khatib.

Neither of those things is sitting well with the FSA, with leaders of the combat force, made primarily of defectors from the Syrian military, refusing to recognize Hitto. Some of the groups within FSA, which are divided internally, are said to be withdrawing CORF support entirely to back Khatib, no matter what he does.

FSA Joint Command also issued an open letter condemning the Muslim Brotherhood, saying that there is a “deep confrontation” brewing between them, and that their domination of the leadership of internationally recognized political groups is getting in the way of the ongoing war and “delaying victory.”

Though Western nations likely are uncomfortable with an Islamist leadership of CORF, many seem a lot more concerned about the lack of credible leadership at all for the rebellion, and are balking at requests for dramatic increases in military aid so long as it is unclear what the rebellion stands for and who will wind up in charge should they prevail.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.