As Syria’s Revolution Sputters, a Chaotic Stalemate

 TORN BY WAR The view from a mosque in Homs, Syria, that has served as a rallying point for insurgents.  Credit Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
TORN BY WAR The view from a mosque in Homs, Syria, that has served as a rallying point for insurgents. Credit Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

By Anne Barnard in The New York Times

ANTAKYA, Turkey — It was a victory that President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents had dreamed of: Insurgents seized a key army base in northern Syria after more than a year of trying. But the mood in this Turkish border town, flooded with Syrians who have fled both government bombings and extremist insurgents, was more bitter than celebratory.

The assault this month was led by the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s arm in Syria, which claimed the spoils. By contrast, many of the first Syrians to rise up against Mr. Assad in 2011 — civilian demonstrators and army defectors alike — followed the battle from the sidelines here, unable to enter Syria under threat of death from the extremists of Nusra and its rival group, the Islamic State.

As Syria’s war heads toward its fourth year, the complex battleground is increasingly divided between the government and the extremists, leaving many Syrians feeling that the revolution on which they gambled their lives and livelihoods has failed.

Different insurgent groups battle one another, even as they fight against Mr. Assad’s forces and his allies, foreign Shiite militias. A chaotic stalemate reigns in a war that has killed more than 200,000 people and wounded one million.

In northern and eastern Syria, where Mr. Assad’s opponents won early victories and once dreamed of building self-government, the nationalist rebel groups calling themselves the Free Syrian Army are forced to operate under the extremists’ umbrellas, to go underground or to flee, according to Syrian insurgents, activists and two top commanders of the American-financed F.S.A. groups.

Read more at The New York Times

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Group are not in Line with the Syrian Revolution


Syrian Coalition
Istanbul, Turkey
September 20, 2013

The Syrian Coalition condemns the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) for its aggression towards Syrian revolutionary forces and its indifference to the lives of the Syrian people. The Syrian Coalition stresses that the following ISIS practices constitute a stark contradiction to the principles of the Syrian revolution:

1. ISIS’s link with a foreign agenda and its repeated calls to establish a new state inside Syria violating national sovereignty.

2. ISIS’s repeated repressive practices with respect to the freedoms of citizens, doctors, journalists, and political activists.

3. ISIS’s use of force in dealing with civilians, as well as its fight against the Free Syrian Army (FSA), in particular the recent incident in the town of Azaz, Rural Aleppo, where ISIS tried to control the Bab al-Salamah border crossing with Turkey on September 18, 2013.

4. ISIS no longer fights the Assad regime. Rather, it is strengthening its positions in liberated areas, at the expense of the safety of civilians. ISIS is inflicting on the people the same suppression of the Baath party and the Assad regime.

The Syrian Coalition reiterates that the Syrian people are moderate, and respect religious diversity and political differences. They reject extremist (takfiri) ideology and exclusionary behavior, including any and all criminal acts against all citizens.

The Syrian Coalition emphasizes that the principles and values of the Syrian revolution are universal human values, and calls on all revolutionary forces to continue the struggle towards a state where freedom, justice, rule of law, democracy, and equality can thrive.

We ask for Mercy for our martyrs, health for our wounded, and freedom for our detainees.

Long live Syria and its people, free and with honor.

via Syrian National Coalition