Ahrar al-Sham: The »Syrian Taliban« / Al-Nusra Ally Seeks Partnership with West
MESOP : SWP Comments by GUIDO STEINBERG /ANALYSIS
President Bashar al-Assad’s refusal to step down and open the door to compromise is not the only obstacle to a resolution of the Syrian conflict. Various Islamist groups focused on outright military victory also play a major role. Since 2012 they have come to dominate the uprising. The international community agrees that there can be no negotiations with the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), nor with the al Nusra Front, which is close to al-Qaeda.
The open question is how to treat Ahrar al-Sham, as the largest rebel group alongside ISIS. Its militant Salafist orientation, which makes it the al-Nusra Front’s closest ally, speaks against involving it in talks. Although Ahrar has been seeking since 2015 to position itself as a partner for the United States and its allies, there is no sign that it intends to abandon its alliance with the jihadists. Read full text http://www.swp-berlin.org/en/publications/swp-comments-en/swp-aktuelle-details/article/ahrar_al_sham_the_syrian_taliban.html