Earlier this month outrage flared among Syrian rebels and opposition activists when the #Nusra Front kidnapped the #commander of the #Liberation #Army, one of the largest U.S.-backed rebel factions in Syria’s north. It seemed like another instance of Syria’s Al #Qaeda affiliate crushing a smaller, pro-Western rival, systematically eliminating alternatives to its #jihadi brand.
Yet the air went out of the controversy when, barely a week later, the same commander cut a #deal with Nusra. The U.S.-backed rebel leader reached a compromise with the #jihadists that allowed him to return to the front lines. There, empowered by the deal, he could focus on quelling a #mutiny by #internal #rivals in the Liberation Army who had accused their commander of nepotism and corruption.
This sort of horse-trading is a reality in northern Syria, but it’s also what has made it so complicated for the United States and its allies to back Syrian rebels. Russia has complained that what the U.S. State Department calls “#moderate” #rebels are hopelessly entangled with Al Qaeda. American officials don’t have a good response, and it’s easy to see why after a long streak of Nusra #domination, only the latest example of which is the Liberation Army’s apparent capitulation and devil’s deal with Nusra.
See more: https://tcf.org/content/commentary/syrias-rebels-al-qaedas-mercy/