Jihadis presence ‘getting bigger’ in messed up Syria: Report
Washington: Syrian rebels have ramped up their assaults on Syria’s capital Damascus, and the country’s largest city Aleppo.
The United Nation’s peace envoy met with US and Russian diplomats in Moscow again, trying to broker a ceasefire, and there’s growing concern over al Qaeda’s influence in the rebel ranks.
According to CNN, video shows the aftermath of a Syrian air strike, which high level diplomats said ‘is bad and getting worse’.
Despite its air power, the Bashar al-Assad regime appears increasingly on the defensive against rebel forces which, according to Israel`s ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, include a growing number of radical Islamists.
"The jihadi presence is big and getting bigger and the longer the conflict goes on there the bigger it will get," Oren said.
According to the report, the jihadis are an offshoot of al Qaeda in Iraq, which once fought a no-holds-barred battle against American troops.
Jeffrey White, a former analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency, said that they are now turning the tide against the Assad regime.
"They are very good fighters. They give the rebels a combat edge. They`re quite willing to die. They fight on all the key fronts. They`re involved in many of the key actions, many of the successful actions of the rebels. These are not people that we want to win," White said.
With the rebels making inroads on Damascus itself, monitoring of Syrian bases where chemical weapons are stored has detected evidence the Assad regime may be preparing to use them in a last-ditch attempt to save itself, the report said.
"It`s not going to be a clean outcome in the best of circumstances and now it will be chaotic and messy," White said.
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