This Syrian civil war is extremely sad and tragic, but it has become abundantly clear that there are no “good guys” when it comes to the main factions fighting. The idea that we would provide aid to a side that is allied with al-Qaeda, the terrorist group used to justify the destruction of civil liberties domestically, is beyond absurd.
As we see from today’s New York Times article, these rebel factions are not fighting for peace or democracy, but more often than not for simple bloodthirsty revenge. Some of the factions are actively trying to form an Islamist state, while others are calling for the extermination of an entire group of people based solely on the fact they are part of a particular religious group, the Alawites. From the New York Times:
The Syrian rebels posed casually, standing over their prisoners with firearms pointed down at the shirtless and terrified men.
The prisoners, seven in all, were captured Syrian soldiers. Five were trussed, their backs marked with red welts. They kept their faces pressed to the dirt as the rebels’ commander recited a bitter revolutionary verse.
The moment the poem ended, the commander, known as “the Uncle,” fired a bullet into the back of the first prisoner’s head. His gunmen followed suit, promptly killing all the men at their feet.
This scene, documented in a video smuggled out of Syria a few days ago by a former rebel who grew disgusted by the killings, offers a dark insight into how many rebels have adopted some of the same brutal and ruthless tactics as the regime they are trying to overthrow.
In the more than two years this civil war has carried on, a large part of the Syrian opposition has formed a loose command structure that has found support from several Arab nations, and, to a more limited degree, the West. Other elements of the opposition have assumed an extremist cast, and openly allied with Al Qaeda.
Across much of Syria, where rebels with Western support live and fight, areas outside of government influence have evolved into a complex guerrilla and criminal landscape.