WaPo: Say, those foreign fighters seem to be dominating the Syrian rebellion
posted at 6:19 pm on October 2, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
From today’s Washington Post, an update that’s easy to miss in Shutdownapalooza. Wasn’t it just a month ago that Secretary of State John Kerry said the jihadists were no more than 25% of the “oppositionists”? Good times, good times:
Foreign fighters from across the Arab world and beyond are playing an increasingly dominant role in the battle for control of Syria, which has emerged as an even more powerful magnet for jihadist volunteers than Iraq and Afghanistan were in the past decade.
The number of Syrians battling to overthrow the regime led by President Bashar al-Assad outstrips by a large margin the thousands of Arabs and other non-Syrian Muslims who have streamed into Syria over the past two years to join in the fight.
But the flow of jihadist volunteers has accelerated, and non-Syrians have begun taking the lead in a variety of roles as the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attempts to assert control over large areas of the rebel-held north.
Foreign fighters man checkpoints, serve as commanders on the battlefield and have become the de facto rulers of towns and cities in areas under rebel control, giving them a visible and much-feared presence across large swaths of territory, according to Syrians living in the north as well as analysts.
Saudis, Tunisians and Libyans are among the most frequently encountered nationalities, the residents and analysts say, but men from Chechnya, Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates also are present. The Pakistani Taliban announced in August that it had established a presence in Syria. Among those killed in recent battles was a Moroccan commander who had spent years as a prisoner of the U.S. government at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and was eulogized in one of the many videos prepared by the foreign volunteers to advertise their presence.
And the White House is sending weapons to this rebellion. I’m certain that will end well.