“First, we will endure the violent aerial bombardment, then move to weaken Russia by all means available, such as recruiting agents in the ranks of the regime to provide us with the movements of the Russians and the regime,” Capt. Rashid al-Hourani, from the rebel Homs Liberation Movement, told The Daily Beast by telephone.
The Homs Liberation Movement—a division of the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army—seems ready to use tactics associated with ISIS. “We will conduct martyrdom operations carried out by dissident officers,” al-Hourani said, using a euphemism for suicide attacks.
Though this may not be all that surprising. The Movement is an Islamist faction known to be a close military ally of the official al Qaeda franchise in Syria known as Jabhat al-Nusra. According to Genevieve Casagrande, an analyst at the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for the Study of War, “The relationship between Nusra and Tahrir Homs with regards to governance was thought of as ‘uneasy’ when Nusra first started to assert itself (and it’s strict version of sharia) in Homs, however, they have likely grown closer as time has gone on and probably are currently participating in joint rebel governance structures together.” Al-Nusra has already warned Russia that it will face another Afghanistan in Russia.