September 25, 2013
In recent weeks, Aleppo Province in northern Syria has witnessed repeated clashes between the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham (ISIS), culminating in clashes last week resulting in ISIS temporarily seizing Azaz, a strategic village on the Turkish border. In the midst of a tense ceasefire between the rebel groups, 13 of the opposition’s largest factions in Aleppo announced their non-recognition of the Istanbul-based Syrian National Coalition and their support for sharia law.Abdulrahman al-Masri spoke to Mohammed, a 25-year-old independent citizen journalist in Aleppo, for an update from Syria’s second city.
Q: In your opinion as a citizen journalist, why did these brigades make this announcement? Why in Aleppo?
A: Because of the large control of the Islamists on this area, and their increased power on the ground.
Q: Why, in particular, are there an increasing number of militants in Aleppo?
A: Because Aleppo is close to the Turkish border. There is a power vacuum on the border and the Free Syrian Army lacks control there.
Q: As a citizen of Aleppo, how does this statement make you feel?
A: This highlights the overwhelming chaos in which the city lives, and [furthers] the absence of agreement between brigades and the ongoing disputes between ISIS and the FSA. There are now cases of assassination of FSA commanders and ISIS brigade leaders.
Q: Do you think military factions in Aleppo are attempting to evade the attempted political solution of Geneva II and prefer the continuation of the military battle?
A: Of course, but not all brigades. There are some brigades who want a political solution as a result of the poor living and fighting conditions they are currently experiencing.