Syrian Rebel Group: U.S. Weapons Great, Airstrikes Bad
A group that reportedly has been supplied with American anti-tank guided TOW missiles has issued a statement condemning the U.S.-led airstrikes against ISIS terrorists in Syria.
In an Arabic language social media post Tuesday, the rebel group Harakat Hazm said that, “The aerial bombardments are an assault against the national sovereignty” which only help the Assad regime cling to power. The statement argues that the better move would be to arm “the Free Syrian Army without condition [otherwise] the result will be failure and destruction that reach the whole region.”
The United States carried out its first attacks inside Syria against the terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State, early Tuesday. U.S. fighter jets and ship-based Tomahawk missiles bombed targets in Raqaa, an ISIS stronghold, among other targets.
Fighter jets from Bahrain and other regional Arab countries reportedly joined in the attack.
Harakat Hazm is a confederation of rebel groups created in January, and purportedly is among the more moderate Syrian rebel groups. The alliance includes about 7,000 fighters. It has fought alongside al-Qaida linked jihadist groups, including Jabhat al Nusra and Ahrar Al Sham, according to this video posted on YouTube in June by a supporter of the Islamic State.
Ironically, Harakat Hazm’s statement further highlights the challenge of finding reliable partners for the United States and its allies among Syrian rebels. In an April interview with the Washington Post, Harakat Hazm leader Abdullah Awda played it coy when asked if the United States directly provided the TOW missiles.
“These missiles are available in the countries of the [Persian] Gulf, they are available in Libya,” he said. “The Americans have a long list of countries that they sell weapons to.”
Awda also said he wants democracy for Syria, but “any government will have to take laws from Islam, be inspired by Islam, because “at the end of the day Islam is the religion of the country and the religion of most of its people. Thus, the government should consider Islam as a source, but the true, moderate Islam.”