Arab Today, arab today islamists fight for space in a postassad syria
Last Updated : GMT 19:48:18
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Islamists fight for space in a post-Assad Syria

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Islamists fight for space in a post-Assad Syria

Bab Al Hawa - AFP

Mohammed Sensawi, a rebel fighter in the Syrian border town of Bab al-Hawa, said: \"You see, I have a beard but no moustache. That is normal -- I am a Salafi.\" Nearby are a group of Islamist fighters who were among those who wrested control of the Bab al-Hawa crossing between Syria and Turkey from forces loyal to embattled President Bashar al-Assad. Bab al-Hawa, \"Gate of the Wind\" in Arabic, is now regularly bombarded by Syrian army tanks nestled kilometres (miles) away, behind a rocky hill. At the crossing, the black flag synonymous with Islamist movements fluttered aloft. Around 15 armed men, mostly Syrian, were sleeping or toying with their Kalashnikovs as Sensawi spoke. \"We will establish an Islamic state as far as Lebanon, where they have whores and casinos,\" declared Sensawi, a former swimming coach and acupuncturist who took up arms in Damascus during the uprising against Assad\'s regime now nearly 17 months old.. He railed against the West and Iran, as well as the Syrian army. \"When we prevail, it will be an eye for an eye,\" said Sensawi, as he lay on a mattress. \"Those who surrender will be pardoned; the others will be killed.\" Sensawi and others like him claim to belong to different battalions grouped under a unified command that occasionally fights alongside the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the main rebel movement comprised of army deserters and civilians. Inside the Bab al-Hawa border post, broken whisky bottles lie on the floor near the Duty Free section. On a nearby wall, someone has painted \"Islam is the solution.\" Former dentist Mohammed Firas is now leader of the National Consultative Council, an umbrella organisation of Islamist groups in Syria that claimes it could count 10,000 fighters among its ranks. He dismissed the importance of the FSA, describing it as \"one group among others\" and said simply: \"We will see after the fall of the regime who is the most powerful, and who can govern the country.\" \"We do not represent Al-Qaeda in Syria,\" he continued. \"We have conducted operations in Idlib, Homs, Hama, Aleppo and Damascus. Our goal is to spread our way of life, and to fight the army.\" For several weeks, Western media reports have remarked upon the apparently increasing numbers of Islamist fighters among the ranks of rebels, but foreign fighters thus far appear to be few, and most armed groups seem to be largely free of Islamists. And while flags flown by some of the armed groups in the area appear similar to ones used by Al-Qaeda, they do not mean that the militant group\'s vision of Islam is the dominant ideology of the rebellion. There is also fierce rivalry between forces loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists. On Wednesday and Thursday, Salafist fighters -- furious that they had not received weapons from the Brotherhood-controlled Tawhid Brigade -- withdrew from fighting in Aleppo to Syria\'s north, AFP learned from fighters. At Anadan, west of Aleppo, General Abdul Nasser Firzat, a general who deserted the army, insisted that he was against Islamists, \"for reasons of tolerance, and I do not want to see the Islamists confiscate the revolution.\" Near Aleppo, in villages surrounding the city close to the border with Turkey, there are also signs of Islamist support, but by no means sufficient to suggest its dominance in the uprising. \"Of 4,000 to 5,000 rebel fighters in Aleppo, some 50 to 100 are fighters with a radical Islamist agenda,\" said the FSA\'s Military Council chief in Aleppo, Colonel Abdel Jabbar al-Oqaidi. \"They are not representative, and they have no social base.\" Others largely agree. \"You have a gradient going from mainstream armed opposition to hardcore jihadi groups who use Al-Qaeda-like symbols and rhetoric,\" said Peter Harling, an analyst at the International Crisis Group. \"Jihadi groups have acquired more space and visibility as the regime\'s hold over the country has been challenged in recent weeks ... yet they remain a very secondary player on a military level.\" Abdul Qader Mohammed, a doctor in the city of Hama, accused Assad\'s regime of largely organising the radical groups, telling AFP via Skype: \"Since the beginning of the uprising, the regime has pushed to convince the world that ... it was an insurgency by armed terrorists with an Islamist agenda.\" \"While there was no such thing in the beginning, they\'ve made sure that such groups exist by now,\" he added. Groups such as Al-Nusra or Jundallah, previously unseen in Syria, have appeared in the country since the uprising began. According to Hassan Abu Haniyeh, an expert on Islamist groups based in Amman, \"from 2003 to 2006, most of the jihadists travelling to Iraq to fight the US went in through Syria.\" \"But now all the conditions for Al-Qaeda and other Salafists or jihadists to take root are there,\" said Abu Haniyeh. \"The regime has lost control of parts of the country, and Al-Qaeda happens when the state fails.\"

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today islamists fight for space in a postassad syria Arab Today, arab today islamists fight for space in a postassad syria

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Prepares to present her new collection

GMT 14:29 2017 Monday ,20 February

Prepares to present her new collection
Arab Today, arab today Tourism shows signs of recovery

GMT 09:59 2017 Monday ,20 February

Tourism shows signs of recovery
Arab Today, arab today Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"

GMT 19:45 2017 Monday ,20 February

Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"
Arab Today, arab today 11 family members dead in rebel push

GMT 07:57 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

11 family members dead in rebel push
Arab Today, arab today To probe sexual harassment claims

GMT 10:08 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

To probe sexual harassment claims

GMT 15:49 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Fierce clashes continue in Syria's Raqqa

GMT 14:49 2017 Saturday ,18 February

56 killed in Syria clashes on Friday

GMT 05:27 2017 Saturday ,18 February

UN Warns of Humanitarian Catastrophe in 4 Syrian Cities

GMT 08:58 2017 Friday ,17 February

Several Syrian towns on brink of starvation

GMT 00:47 2017 Friday ,17 February

13,000 hanged at Syria prison: Amnesty
View News in Arabic - Country: سوريا
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today 57 monkeys carrying 'invasive' genes

GMT 16:00 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

57 monkeys carrying 'invasive' genes
Arab Today, arab today 63-Year-Old Woman Delivers Baby

GMT 12:35 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

63-Year-Old Woman Delivers Baby
Arab Today, arab today Small ponds have outsized impact

GMT 15:53 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Small ponds have outsized impact
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Nissan enhances sales in most markets

GMT 14:08 2017 Monday ,20 February

Nissan enhances sales in most markets
Arab Today, arab today Competes Sweden and Germans by S90

GMT 22:36 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Competes Sweden and Germans by S90
Arab Today, arab today Ahmed Fahmy stresses he did not ignore singing

GMT 06:34 2017 Sunday ,19 February

Ahmed Fahmy stresses he did not ignore singing
Arab Today, arab today London to tax old cars

GMT 14:06 2017 Friday ,17 February

London to tax old cars

GMT 21:11 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Egypt to hold first session of Arab film festival

GMT 06:50 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed

GMT 19:10 2017 Friday ,17 February

Hats, scarves add beauty to women

GMT 20:41 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 23:29 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Home built on sand castles-style costs $8m

GMT 14:51 2017 Monday ,20 February

Ways to acquire presentation skills

GMT 19:16 2017 Friday ,17 February

Aziz House ready to host the tourists

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 12:39 2017 Monday ,20 February

newest smartphone another winner for Huawei

GMT 13:16 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

First fashion model with Down syndrome
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday