U.S. Bombing in Syria Said to Drive More Anti-Assad Rebels to Join or Support ISIS

Wednesday, November 26, 2014
(photo Kutluhan Cucel, Getty Images)

American airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are causing fighters from other Syrian rebel groups to align themselves with ISIS.


The Guardian reported members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as well as some Islamic military groups are joining ISIS. In other cases, rebels that have long fought against ISIS units have decided to call a truce out of anger over the U.S. bombing campaign.


ISIS “now is like a magnet that attracts large numbers of Muslims,” Abu Talha, who left the FSA and joined ISIS, told the Guardian.


FSA member Assam Murad said: “There’s no way we would fight ISIS after the U.S. military campaign against them.”


An alliance is reportedly being formed between ISIS and four groups—the Jaish al-Mujahideen army, al-Sham brigade, Ahrar al-Sham brigade and al-Nusra Front—that were at war earlier this year. About a thousand al-Nusra Front fighters joined ISIS in just one week.


Civilians are beginning to welcome ISIS as well for the group’s social measures and its tough-on-crime Sharia law. “We opened 57 free public restaurants in Raqqa city, which provide three meals a day for any resident to foil any claim by a looter that he had to steal in order to feed his children. We provide free fuel to residents as well,” Abu Talha said.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

U.S. Air Strikes in Syria Driving Anti-Assad Groups to Support ISIS (by Mona Mamood, The Guardian)

U.S. Strategy against ISIS in Syria Relies on Backing “Moderate Rebels”... Who May Not Exist (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)

U.S. Airstrikes—Seen by Some Syrians as an Attack on Islam—May Push Rebel Groups into ISIS Camp (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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