Syrian rebels urge friends to rethink decision
Syria rebels are faced with a new dilemma after the United States of America and Great Britain announced that they will be holding back lethal support due to recent developments in the country. The Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is backed by the member countries of the group Friends of Syria, has been forced from its headquarters by the newly formed Islamic Front. Washington and London fear that providing lethal support to the rebels will empower the jihadists in Syria.
Last month, seven leading rebel groups – the Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam, Suqour al-Sham, Liwa al-Tawhid, Liwa al-Haqq, Ansar al-Sham and the Kurdish Islamic Front – declared that they were forming the largest alliance yet in the 33-month conflict, with an estimated 45,000 fighters. The alliance known as the Islamic Front is different from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and the al-Nusra Front.
U.S and Britain decided to suspend their support to the rebels except for “non-lethal” equipment which they will continue providing. The announcement was not welcomed by spokesman Louay Meqdad of the FSA. “We hope our friends will rethink and wait for a few days when things will be clearer,” Meqdad said.
Army bases and warehouses located near the Turkish border and under the FSA have been taken over by the Islamic Front. A Foreign Office spokesman in London said they are “investigating events” and “will not be making any deliveries of equipment to the Supreme Military Council (SMC)” until they are satisfied with the “conditions on the ground” to allow a delivery.
The Islamic Front withdrew from the command of the FSA’s SMC and proclaims itself as an “independent political, military and social formation” aiming to topple Assad and establish an Islamic State.