Face it, there was never a clear way to hand weapons over to FSA rebels, who are now joining up with al-Nusra fundamentalists. These former FSA members only differ in nuance with the jihadists, so cry me a river all you Guardian journalists and like minded, any which way you slice it, they’re all fundamentalist nut-jobs. We simply can’t align ourselves with any of them, anymore than we can with the Hamas or Hezbollah (and yes the Fatah as well)
NOTE: Here’s a recent video (h/t Vlad) show what these ”freedom fighters” are all about.
Free Syrian Army rebels defect to Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra
The well-resourced organisation, which is linked to al-Qaida, is luring many anti-Assad fighters away, say brigade commanders
Syria’s main armed opposition group, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), is losing fighters and capabilities to Jabhat al-Nusra, an Islamist organisation with links to al-Qaida that is emerging as the best-equipped, financed and motivated force fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Evidence of the growing strength of al-Nusra, gathered from Guardian interviews with FSA commanders across Syria, underlines the dilemma for the US, Britain and other governments as they ponder the question of arming anti-Assad rebels.
John Kerry, the US secretary of state, said that if negotiations went ahead between the Syrian government and the opposition – as the US and Russia proposed on Tuesday – “then hopefully [arming the Syrian rebels] would not be necessary”.
The agreement between Washington and Moscow creates a problem for the UK and France, which have proposed lifting or amending the EU arms embargo on Syria to help anti-Assad forces. The Foreign Office welcomed the agreement as a “potential step forward” but insisted: “Assad and his close associates have lost all legitimacy. They have no place in the future of Syria.” Opposition leaders were sceptical about prospects for talks if Assad remained in power.
Illustrating their plight, FSA commanders say that entire units have gone over to al-Nusra while others have lost a quarter or more of their strength to them recently.
“Fighters feel proud to join al-Nusra because that means power and influence,” said Abu Ahmed, a former teacher from Deir Hafer who now commands an FSA brigade in the countryside near Aleppo. “Al-Nusra fighters rarely withdraw for shortage of ammunition or fighters and they leave their target only after liberating it,” he added. “They compete to carry out martyrdom [suicide] operations.”