Michael Totten

Is the Free Syrian Army Rejecting Jihadists?

According to Asharq al-Awsat, the Free Syrian Army has rejected offers of “help” from freelance jihadists who have arrived in the country to fight the Assad regime.

I’m a bit surprised by this. I’m also not sure if I believe it just yet. Some Salafists are mixed in with the Free Syrian Army. And no one else has offered up any assistance, at least not that I know of.

Then again, Syrians had a front-row seat to the carnage in next-door Iraq when freelance jihadists showed up there to fight us and the Iraqis. They may have learned an important lesson from that.

The Syrian opposition really has shown signs of restraint. They waited an awfully long time before taking up arms against the government. They waited longer than I would have waited and I’d much rather risk getting killed that sign on with the likes of Al Qaeda.

So maybe they are mature enough to reject the worst sort of help even at a time when they’re desperate. Here’s to hoping it’s true and that it stays true.