Syrian Islamist Rivals Back US Attacks on ISIS

Accuse ISIS of 'Stealing' Rebellion

Rebels from the Islamic Front, a Syrian faction which has ties to al-Qaeda leadership, are expressing support for US airstrikes against ISIS, which they consider a rival in the ongoing civil war in northern Syria.

“I hope they bomb them and not a single one is left. Those people are not Muslims, they are infidels,” declared one of the rebels. The Islamic Front includes factions which the US began arming after the Free Syrian Army (FSA) began losing ground, as a next-best ally.

The Islamic Front is accusing ISIS of “stealing the rebellion” from them, which is remarkable because it wasn’t so long ago that the FSA was saying the same thing about the Islamic Front.

At least in this particular part of Syria, they see US strikes as something they can cash in on in their ongoing territorial battle with ISIS, though ISIS has so routinely and soundly defeated them in direct conflict it is hard to imagine the US strikes really turning the tide.

Rather, the Islamic Front’s hope seems to be that with continued escalation the US will eventually end up installing them as a new regime in the region, though the US has such a history of changing its mind about who they’re backing in the country it seems a questionable thing to bank on, and there are no shortage of other, even more minor rebel factions the US might pick as the “right” choice for northern Syria.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of