Status of the Syrian Rebellion

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Fabrice Balanche - A March report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) categorized 23 of Syria's hundreds of rebel groups as the main "powerbrokers" and "potential powerbrokers" in the opposition. In total, these groups command an estimated 90,000 fighters. Among the "powerbroker" rebels, 20% are transnational jihadists, 31% are national jihadists, 24% are political Islamists, and 25% are "secularists." In comparison, the Syrian regime has 125,000 regular army troops and 150,000 pro-government militia members, including around 50,000 Shiite foreign fighters (i.e., Hizbullah and Iranian-trained Iraqis, Pakistanis, and Afghan Hazaras). Most of the native forces are preoccupied with defending territory; only a fourth of them are able to launch offensives. The non-jihadist rebels are very fragmented and marginalized on most fronts, which gives the jihadists the ascendancy. Helping the "secularist" rebels become major actors would not work if Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey continue supporting Islamist factions. The writer, an associate professor and research director at the University of Lyon 2, is a visiting fellow at The Washington Institute.

2016-11-25 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive