Last week NOW detailed the close ties between the Assad regime and ISIS, as well as with ISIS’s predecessor, Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), including efforts by Assad to provide funding and material support to AQI to fight American troops in Iraq. The Telegraph had already in January conveyed analysis from Western intelligence agencies cataloging how Damascus had fueled Sunni extremism both in the region and even specifically inside Syria, where some of those extremists were battling the regime. The piece highlighted accusations that Assad had functionally chosen his enemy in Syria’s conflict, empowering both extremist Shiite elements and Al Qaeda-linked groups on the Sunni side to squeeze out moderates. It described tactics ranging from the direct purchase of oil sales – which provided Sunni jihadists with resources – to selective targeting of opposition elements, with extremists being released after battlefield captures even as moderates were kept in prison or worse.