Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The anti-Assad Syrians are getting more than they expected, the poor darlings.

Be careful what you wish for!  The devil you know is better than the devil you don't.

Fair piece of reporting below from Vice.  Pics at link. The vid is not from Vice.

...."Watch out—there are snipers on this street,"   warned the ISIS fighter as my driver stopped next to him and eight other heavily armed men who were preparing to head into battle. ISIS, or the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, is an offshoot of al Qaeda currently operating on the battlegrounds of Syria.

He wouldn't have guessed it, but we were all trying to reach the same place—the front line outside the headquarters of yet another of the militant groups fighting in Syria, Ahfad al-Rasul. This organization is affiliated with the Free Syrian Army and had declared war on ISIS just a few hours earlier, for control of the provincial capital of Raqqa.

This was my third visit to the city in the four months since it had been "liberated," as Syrians tend to refer to areas where rebels have managed to expel government troops. The battle against Bashar al-Assad's forces in Raqqa had only lasted for about a week—a sharp contrast to the fighting in Aleppo, where gunfights and shelling have continued for over a year since the conflict began.
Once rebels take control of an area, it is now standard procedure for the regime to respond by bombarding it with indiscriminate air strikes in the hope of killing swathes of anti-Assad fighters. But back in April, just weeks after the liberation, cheerful residents seemed to greet the inevitable trail of destruction as a good thing—a sign of the progress the rebels were making.

Recently, however, the tension has risen considerably in Raqqa and the atmosphere has completely changed, as the rebel resistance continues to splinter, pitting many groups who once fought side by side against Assad against each other. The original celebration of freedom has given way to fear and uncertainty.   

A number of civil movements—both religious and secular—have also been trying to establish themselves in a bid to influence the future of the city and eventually the country. A group named Haqna, Arabic for “Our Right”, is one of the organizations leading the charge. Its logo, a hand making a V sign, the index finger marked with election ink, is spray-painted all over the city. Mostly made up of young local activists, Haqna is aiming to educate the population about their civil rights and the importance of elections.

Haqna has already met opposition from ISIS, however, and some of their members have been arrested recently for organizing protests against the militant Islamist group. After a demonstration outside their headquarters, one activist claimed to have seen someone filming them from inside the building. “They’re worse than the mukhabarat [the secret police]—they have eyes everywhere,” he said..............

..........A local resident, Abu Mazin said the main reason that he declared war against ISIS is to fight for the release of a reported 1,500 prisoners currently being held by the group, about 500 of them FSA members. He also said that he had the support of Raqqa’s residents: "The people don’t want to be under the rule of ISIS," he explained.........

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