September 26, 2013
By Abdulrahman al-Masri and Kristen Gillespie
AMMAN: The five members of the UN Security Council reached an agreement on Thursday on how to eliminate Syria’s stock of chemical weapons as infighting in the Syrian opposition highlighted growing rifts between them.
The Security Council will vote on a binding resolution on Friday, with the UN declining to comment on the content of the proposed resolution.
Meanwhile, fallout continued from a statement earlier this week in which 13 rebel brigades based in rebel-controlled north Syria disavowed any allegiance to the Istanbul-based Syrian National Coalition.
The alliance of Islamist fighting organizations, largely from the north of Syria, declared that they do not recognize any foreign-based opposition group, including the Syrian National Coalition and its temporary government led by President Ahmad Touma.
“The unification of military ranks will have a positive impact on the battles that are underway now, through additional cooperation and coordination,” said Abu Firas, a spokesman for Liwa al-Tawhid Brigade, one of the signatories to the rebel statement. The group issued the declaration “because of the political failure of both the Coalition and the government,” he added.
The head of the FSA cut short a visit to France to go to Syria “immediately to meet field and front leadership as well as those commanders who signed on the statement to further clarify the picture,” FSA spokesman Louai Miqdad told Al-Jazeera in an interview on Wednesday.
Coalition members should also go to Syria, Miqdad said, “to start a real dialogue between them as the representative of the Syrian people and the rebels on the ground.”
On Tuesday, Liwa al-Tawhed, FSA-affiliated Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra, among other groups, jointly called for sharia [Islamic] law in Aleppo.
“Jabhat al-Nusra represents a good portion of the people and cannot be overlooked,” said Abu Firas, the Liwa al-Tawhid spokesman.
“The closer we move to a political solution, the more the fighters will feel stressed and fear losing the values of the revolution,” said Coalition member Moafek Nairabyiah. “It is normal to feel anxious; we are afraid to slide into sectarianism.
The statement represents another way Aleppo’s civilians are paying the price for this war, said one citizen journalist. “It highlights the overwhelming chaos in which the city lives, and [furthers] the absence of agreement between brigades and the ongoing disputes between the ISIS and the FSA,” said Mohamed, 25.
“Aleppo is close to the Turkish border, and there is a huge vacuum there and the FSA lacks control,” he added.
Syria Live reported continuing clashes between the FSA and the Kurdish PYD militia in Atama village near Bab al-Hawa border crossing on Thursday.
“These brigades are following other agendas but most probably want to create an Islamic state,” says Major Mohammad Najeeb Rajab, leader of Liwa al-Karama Brigade, Northern Outer Homs.