BEIRUT

Middle East

Eighteen rebel factions announce new military grouping

BEIRUT: Eighteen rebel factions in Syria announced Sunday the formation of a new unified “Revolutionary Command Council” based inside the country, in the latest bid to address the rebels’ fragmentation. The factions include leading groups from the Free Syrian Army, namely the Hazm Movement and the Syria Rebel Front, as well as members of the Islamic Front, such as the Islam Army and Suqour al-Sham.

Notably, the announcement leaves out the Islamic Front’s Ahrar al-Sham militia as well as the Nusra Front, which cooperates with Islamist militias in many parts of the country although it is not a part of the seven-member Islamic Front.

The signatories to the hand-written document said the move was needed to bolster unity, and pledged to select a military leader, and a set of military and judicial bodies, within 45 days.

It said it would organize its military activities in the five “fronts” currently adopted by the FSA – northern, eastern, western, southern and central Syria.

Similar unity efforts have been declared in the past, but in many cases they have reflected a general political stance rather than a dramatic change in military operations.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 04, 2014, on page 8.

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