Assassination triggers third front in Syrian civil war
A key commander of the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army was killed recently by Syria’s al Qaeda rebels, a sign the opposition to the Bashar al-Assad regime is fracturing and Islamist rebels are on the rise.
Kamal Hamami, the FSA commander, was killed as he went to a meeting of al Qaeda-backed rebels to discuss joint operations against the Syrian army, a U.S. official said, confirming Middle East press reports.
Hamami had opposed the al Qaeda-linked rebels and said there was no place for them within the opposition forces.
He was killed in Latakia province, in the northern part of the country near the Turkish border, a known stronghold of Islamist rebels.
The assassination triggered a call by the FSA for a declaration of war against al Qaeda rebel groups, including the two major groups, the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.
“More attacks by Islamic extremists against mainstream opposition figures could lead to retaliation by others in the extremist universe who have been focusing the fight on Assad’s regime,” the official added.
Meanwhile, FSA Chief of Staff Gen. Salim Idris said this week that British Prime Minister David Cameron had betrayed the rebels by deciding not to provide arms. The decision will boost al Qaeda rebels’ control.
“This decision paves the way for al Qaeda to control opposition fighters,” Idris told the Daily Telegraph. “The West promises and promises. This is a joke now. … What are our friends in the West waiting for? For Iran and Hezbollah to kill all the Syrian people?”
However, William Hague, Britain’s foreign secretary, announced on Wednesday that the government would equip “moderate armed opposition” forces in Syria with anti-chemical weapons gear.
Syria’s Islamist rebels are committed to creating a post-Assad state that adheres to extremist Sharia law tenets. The killing of the Hamami is the first indicator that the Islamist rebels will not cooperate with FSA rebels in seeking the ouster of the Assad regime.
The split further complicates Syria’s civil war that has claimed more than 93,000 lives.
Full article: Al Qaeda Rebels Kill Free Syrian Army Commander (Washington Free Beacon)