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The War Within Islam ( 28 March 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Foreigners Fight alongside Syrian Revolutionaries


By Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed

28 March 2013

Moaz Al-Khatib, the head of the Syrian National Coalition, refuted allegations that the Syrian opposition is allowing foreign fighters in the conflict. He further asked why they were not allowed to seek the help of foreign fighters when no one seems to mind the Russians, the Iranians and Hezbollah fighters backing up the regime.

Al-Khatib is right. Even in wars, the rules of engagement must be applied to both sides. Assad's forces have not respected the rules of war thus far, therefore they are in no position to ask a weak opposition to respect the same.

Assad’s forces are using aircraft and heavy artillery in shelling Syrian towns and villages. They are attacking schools and hospitals and using ambulances to transport soldiers. The regime’s army practices are getting more violent with every defeat. It has even begun using gas and chemical weapons, having done so yesterday in a suburb in Damascus.

Since the beginning of the uprising against Bashar two years ago, which began as a series of protests, we expected the clash to happen. We expected that it would be the most aggressive fight in the Arab Spring, knowing the militarized nature of the regime.

The regime killed people by the dozens as they protested. It even killed those who tried to drag the corpses off the streets.

We knew that if the revolution in Syria lasted long enough that it would eventually tempt terrorists. Syria attracts them because of its historic and political importance. Consequently, it is becoming more difficult for the world to control the situation.

There are reports alleging the existence of 15,000 “Jihadists” in Syria, some of them echoing Al-Qaeda’s ideology and some actual Al-Qaeda members.

The number might be exaggerated but Syria has nonetheless become a magnet that draws fighters from around the globe. Jihadis are flocking to the capital of the former Umayyad state as the regime is collapsing and victory is forecast.

The situation would be different if those criticizing the opposition for letting foreigners fight in Syria supported the Syrian fighters a year and a half ago.

Had they done so, overthrowing Bashar would have been easier, as there were no Russians or Iranians fighting with Bashar back then. It would have been easier to intervene in overthrowing an oppressive regime akin to what happened in Libya.

It has now become impossible to introduce a new front beside the fighters who have come from France, Germany, Britain, the US, Australia and the Arab states. There are only two camps in Syria, Assad’s and that of the fighters. As there are around 200,000 fighters, how can we expect those fighting the regime to turn on those who are fighting with them? They will win this war without wondering who the foreign fighters are and what ideology they follow. They don’t have the luxury of choosing their allies. Having 100,000 people killed and 5,000,000 made refugees leave the fighters no choice but to accept any assistance, even if it comes from Satan himself. This is their justification and no one can question it. In war, you cannot issue traffic violations to transgressors. Indeed, this is by far the worst war in the region and the ugliest.