Syria: Rebels losing support among civilians in Aleppo (rebels losing war?)
Turkey, the USA and other backers of the Free Syrian Army rebellion are calling for a cease fire (read: philly.com) . Usually the winning side is not the side that calls for a cease fire. So is the Free Syrian Army losing the war as the USA grows uncomfortable with the growing Islamist take over if the rebellion against the Ba’athist regime in Syria?
Syria: Rebels losing support among civilians in Aleppo
By James Foley | 10/17/12
ALEPPO, Syria — Behind the mansion they were occupying, a group of half-naked rebels whooped with joy as they cannonballed into the murky, half-filled swimming pool.
It was July in the small town of Anadan, about 10 miles from Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. Anadan was a ghost town, deserted except for the Free Syrian Army and the sounds of the near constant barrage of regime shelling.
The junior commander, an illiterate 24-year old, joked that while the war raged all around it, the people of Aleppo were only concerned about their barbecues. He swore the rebels scrabbling through the countryside would soon make their way to Aleppo. He promised Aleppo would burn.
Three months later, Aleppo is on fire. The 1,000-year-old market has been gutted, and the rebel-controlled west lies in ruins. Last week’s massive suicide car bombings, which leveled blocks of the government center, left craters some 10 feet deep.
‘The terrorism here in Syria is spreading, and the government has to do something about it,’ said Mohamed Kabal, a 21-year-old university student.
‘The people in Syria must have an iron hand to rule them, otherwise we will eat each other,’ he said, unconcerned that the rebel sympathizers nearby might hear him. ‘If the government is gone we will have a civil war that will never end.’
As suicide bombers become the rebels’ most effective weapon — illustrating both their desperation against Assad’s air power and the growing presence of insurgents, both local and foreign, who once fought the US occupation in Iraq — the regime’s attacks too are getting more vicious.
‘We don’t like Bashar, we don’t the like regime. We want them to go out. But there is an easier way. Kill everybody? Destroy the country just to change the regime? It’s too much,’ he said, shaking his head.
Faez and his neighbors are tiring of the rebel leaders on the ground. And they are weary of the shells falling all around them. They say they are frustrated that they have lost everything in a matter of months. The frustration shows. Shopkeepers whisper their discontent. Residents wave rebels away as they drive past.
‘You know one of the FSA leaders from Maraa?’ he asked. ‘They go into the free area when there’s fighting in Salahhadin. I see them taking screens, computers, telephones, everything they can lay their hands on.’
He said he’s seen civilians executed after rebels recklessly accuse them of being mercenaries for the regime.
‘I saw one beaten to death,’ he said. ‘The FSA didn’t check their facts, and now he’s dead. I know the man. He was 46. He has five children.’
‘We have lost the civilians now,’ he said, exhaling smoke.