As the Assad regime provoked an initially peaceful protest movement into an armed insurgency in response a lot of attention came to focus upon Al Qaeda's arm in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra (which was designated by the US State Department as a terrorist organization on December 10, 2012) and then the invasion and colonization of Syria from Iraq by the murderers and terrorists of ISIL (formerly known as Al Qaeda in Iraq) who continually attack and fight the Syrian opposition.
But there are many other insurgents present in Syria fighting to overthrow the Assad regime who are not a part of those groups. Here are some attempts to provide details of them.
- The Moderate Rebels: A Growing List of Vetted Groups Fielding BGM-71 TOW Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (May 8, 2015).
The US's ex-ambassador in Syria explained in mid-2014 that the US had known who the rebels were "for years". Others - myself included - have tried to give more granular detail on not only the composition of the insurgency by numbers but its ideological distinctions and the connections between various groups. ... As adumbrated above the regime has largely left IS alone (as has Russia) and focused on eliminating the nationalist rebels, who actually have been fighting IS. (Kyle Orton, Assad and Academics: Disinformation in the Modern Era, February 22, 2016.)
- Jennifer Cafarella, Syrian Opposition Guide, Institute for the Study of War, October 7, 2015.
- Kyle Orton, Syria’s Many Moderate Rebels, November 30, 2015.
- Charles Lister, Yes, there are 70,000 moderate opposition fighters in Syria. Here’s what we know about them, The Spectator, November 2015.
And while the murderers and terrorists of ISIL continue their work of horrid repression one would think the Assad regime would try to stop them.
Meanwhile, observers of the war have noticed a pattern. Assad strains every sinew to fight the non-Islamist rebels, but Isil has generally been immune from his barrel bombs and poison gas. Last year , only six per cent of Assad’s military operations targeted Isil, according to a study by IHS Jane’s, a defence consultancy. The other rebels felt the fury of 94 per cent of Assad’s military effort. (David Blair, As long as there is an Assad, there will be an Isil - he'll make sure of it, Daily Telegraph, December 7, 2015.)How terrible it is that the Assad regime has plunged Syria into this nightmare. The Syrian people deserve peace, justice and security.