.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, April 6

There is a problem with this AP report. There's no such thing as a Syrian "Islam Army."

Philip Issa wrote for the Associated Press that the Syrian "ceasefire" is unraveling. Well here's the way to unravel the AP report (emphasis mine), starting with this paragraph:
The Islam Army, whose political coordinator heads the opposition delegation during fitful peace talks in Geneva, announced that it had killed 20 government soldiers in fighting outside Damascus on Friday.
There is no Islam Army in Syria. There is the Army of Conquest (Jaish al-Fatah or spelled Jayesh), which is what Philip Issa, the AP reporter who filed the story, is actually referring to. From Wikipedia's description of the organization:
Jaish al-Fatah, abbreviated JaF, is a joint operations room of Islamist Syrian rebel factions participating in the Syrian Civil War. The alliance was formed in March 2015 by Islamist rebel factions mainly active in the Idlib Governorate, with some factions active in the Hama and Latakia Governorates.[2] In the course of the following months, it seized most of Idlib province.[6]  It is actively supported by Saudi Arabia and Turkey.[7]
From the Long War Journal November 24, 2015 report, Jihadist-led coalition launches counteroffensive in Syria’s Aleppo province
The Jaysh al Fateh coalition, which is led by jihadist groups, claims to have overrun several towns and villages in the southern part of Syria’s Aleppo province in the past 24 hours. Leading factions in Jaysh al Fateh, including Al Nusrah Front and Ahrar al Sham, have posted a series of videos and images on social media from the areas they say have fallen.

The alliance launched the counteroffensive in the past few days in an attempt to thwart the advances of Bashar al Assad’s regime and its allies, including Russia, which has been bombing targets in Aleppo as part of its air campaign.
The Sunni jihadists from Al Nusrah and Ahrar al Sham have been battling their Shiite counterparts from various militias, which are backed by Iran and Assad. As part of Jaysh al Fateh’s propaganda campaign surrounding the ongoing battles, its constituent groups have published pictures of identification cards, money and other spoils purportedly captured from the Shiite militias, Iranian forces, and members of Assad’s regime.
In a series of tweets from its so-called correspondents’ network, Al Nusrah Front, which is an official branch of al Qaeda, says that its fighters have advanced on Al Aziziyah, Tall Mamu, and several other villages. One video published by Al Nusrah shows “mujahideen” tanks approaching the villages. Two other videos show Al Nusrah’s jihadists shelling Tall Mamu, attacking it with armored vehicles and then the village after its “liberation.”
Separately, Ahrar al Sham has published its own propaganda from the fighting. A map, seen above, illustrates the areas Jaysh al Fateh’s forces are storming in the southern part of the Aleppo province.
All of the photos and videos are watermarked with both the logos of the individual group and Jaysh al Fateh.
[...] 
In short Issa (and/or his sources) would have the reader believe that the rebels they refer to are "embedded" with Al Qaeda fighters. That's like saying a particular battalion or division in an army is "embedded" with the army.  The two fight as one.  

Syria cease-fire unravelling as fighting erupts near Aleppo
By Philip Issa
April 2 at 4:35 PM EDT
Associated Press via The Washington Post

 Syria’s partial cease-fire is unraveling, as fierce clashes between government forces and opposition fighters, including members of al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, erupted Saturday outside the city of Aleppo.
At least 25 pro-government and 16 opposition fighters died in clashes south of Aleppo, where the Nusra Front and rebel militias captured a hill overlooking a major highway, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The fighting continued throughout the day Saturday close to the village of Tel al-Ais, which overlooks the main road connecting Aleppo with the capital, Damascus.
The coordinated offensive by rebels and the Nusra Front follows weeks of air raids on opposition-held areas despite a “cessation of hostilities” that came into effect in late February.
The truce agreement of the Free Syrian Army accused the government of scrapping the cease-fire and undermining the talks in Geneva. The group said one of its fighters was killed in the offensive against government forces in the south Aleppo countryside.


But the Nusra Front is embedded with other groups throughout the country. The government has taken advantage of this ambiguity to strike and besiege opposition-held areas across Syria.
Bombs fell near a school and a hospital in the eastern suburbs of Damascus on Thursday, killing a reported 33 civilians. Opposition officials, accusing the government, said the “massacre” threatened to derail the peace talks that are scheduled to resume in Geneva in two weeks.
Government airstrikes also targeted the public square in the opposition-held city of Maarat Nouman in northern Idlib province Friday, where residents had protested against the Nusra Front’s presence in the town.
These latest strikes appear to have caused some rebel factions to reassess their positions.
The Islam Army, whose political coordinator heads the opposition delegation during fitful peace talks in Geneva, announced that it had killed 20 government soldiers in fighting outside Damascus on Friday.
A spokesman for a U.S.-backed division of the Free Syrian Army accused the government of scrapping the cease-fire and undermining the talks in Geneva. The group said one of its fighters was killed in the offensive against government forces in the south Aleppo countryside.
[...]
*****



Comments: Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?