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#1 13-06-2018 09:01:22

Registered: 02-12-2017
Posts: 1083

he Syrian army while Raqqa

by Hummam Sheikh Ali

DAMASCUS Cheap Philadelphia Eagles Jerseys , July 22 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian rebels have never been more confused with the change of international approaches toward the Syrian crisis.

One of the most recent moves deemed as a blow to the Syrian rebels is the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to end the CIA's covert program to arm and train "moderate Syrian rebels" battling the government of Bashar al-Assad.

The CIA program was launched in 2013 by the Obama Administration to arm, fund and train "moderate" opposition fighters in the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to oust the Assad government.

The program, which involved an estimated number of 10,000 fighters over the past four years, is thought to have achieved little success and was met with many snags after Moscow intervened to support the Syrian army in 2015.

"Trump's decision is considered a turning point toward the political reality and this shift existed at the time of former U.S. President Barack Obama, who apparently realized that the rebels in Syria are unreliable," Osama Danura, a Syrian political expert who was a member of the government delegation to Geneva talks, told Xinhua.

Danura said the U.S. administration, the Pentagon and the CIA reached a conclusion that the so-called moderate rebels cannot represent a strong ally on the ground in Syria.

The U.S. realized that the weapons provided for such moderate rebels will end up in the hands of extremist groups such as the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and the Islamic State (IS), he noted.

Abdul-Bari Atwan, a London-based journalist, wrote recently that the CIA has been training and arming Syrian factions in Jordan and Turkey as well as Syria, while pumping hundreds of millions of dollars and tons of weapons and ammunition without achieving the desired goal of bringing down the Syrian regime.

"This decision wasn't a surprise in the light of the change of the U.S. political priorities, the U.S.-Russian understandings after the advent of the Trump Administration, the failure of the opposition to oust the Syrian regime and the emergence of extremist groups such as IS and Nusra," he explained.

After failing to create a unified front of rebels in making progress in Syria and after the fact that the alliances of the rebels with the terror-designated militants couldn't be vetted completely, the U.S. started searching for a reliable ally in Syria when the Kurdish forces emerged into its view.

During battles in the northern countryside of Aleppo, the Kurdish People Protection Units (YPG) fought as a united force against IS militants and with the help of the U.S., the group proved trustworthy to Washington.

Later on, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) emerged and became the main force fighting IS under the leadership of the YPG and the support of the United States.

Consisting of Arab, Kurdish and Assyrian fighters, the group received heavy backing from the U.S. and is now launching a crushing offensive on the IS de facto capital of Raqqa in northern Syria, with notable gains against the terror group.

There are several reasons behind choosing Kurdish-led groups. The first is the fact that most of these groups are unified on an ethnic background, not a religious one.

The second is that the U.S. has already established military bases in northern Syria in Kurdish-controlled areas.

In turn, the reliance on the Kurds is also one of the reasons why the U.S. has halted its support to other rebel groups.

Videos of U.S. weapons reaching the Kurds have recently emerged online, showing the U.S. promising more aid to its Kurdish-led allies in Syria.

The diplomatic crisis between Qatar and Saudi-led Arab countries has also reverberated negatively on the rebels in Syria and the political opposition groups in exile, creating an obvious rift between Saudi-backed rebels and Qatar-backed ones.

The crisis came as Saudi Arabia accuses Qatar of supporting terrorism in the region, mainly the out-lawed Muslim Brotherhood, to which both the Palestinian Islamic Hamas movement and the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front in Syria belong.

Their clashes in Syria have been obvious in the Eastern Ghouta area of Damascus between the Saudi-backed Islam Army and the Qatar-backed Failaq al-Rahman.

Maher Ihsan, a Syrian political expert, told Xinhua that the Gulf crisis benefits the pacification in Syria because the Gulf states supporting the rebels in Syria have now split into a Qatari team and a Saudi team.

"We will witness more pacification and a push toward the political solution due to the dwindling support to the rebels," he said.

Speaking of the U.S.-Russian understanding, Ihsan told Xinhua that the cease-fire sponsored by the U.S. and Russia that has gone into force in southern Syria recently is so important for the future of the understanding between both powers to resolve the Syrian crisis.

The current situation in Syria could shed light on their understanding, as both the U.S.-backed Kurdish groups and the Russian-backed Syrian army are fighting the terror groups without collision on the horizon, the Syrian expert noted.

"Regarding post-IS era in Raqqa, I don't think there will be a fight between the Syrian government forces and the Western-backed Kurdish forces for control of the IS-held areas because the conflict between the U.S. and Russia for sharing influence in Syria has ended," Ihsan said.

The Russians and Americans seem to have agreed that the eastern city of Deir al-Zour will be entered by the Syrian army while Raqqa will be entered by the Kurdish-led forces of SDF, he added.

Besides, the U.S.-Russian agreement is more than the existing ceasefire, as it is expected to expand to include more areas, such as the Eastern Ghouta of Damascus and the northern countryside of Homs Province in central Syria.

"The recent meeting in Hamburg between U.S. President

Li Jing

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