Free Syrian Army’s Commander Killed by al-Qaeda, Congressmen Oppose Immediate Military Aid

Remember Syria?

According to ABC, western-backed Syrian National Coalition has been putting pressure on the U.S. Congress to allow the Obama Administration to carry on with its efforts to escalate its military support to the rebel forces fighting against President Bashar Assad’s regime.

The Center for Responsive Politics reported that since the conflict began in early 2011, at least 38 clients lobbied for bills and other efforts related to Syria. While most clients consist of human rights groups, energy companies like Exxon Mobil, CITGO Petroleum, and Xcel Energy have also mentioned Syria in their lobbying efforts.

As Washington faces strong opposition to its efforts to increase its support to Syrian rebels from a small group of Congress members, Reuters revealed that a member of the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council was killed during a meeting with members of the Islamic State of Iraq. The commander known by the pseudonym Abu Bassel al-Ladkani, was discussing battle plans with the al Qaeda-linked group in Latakia province when militants reportedly killed him. According to Reuters’ sources, the death followed a conflict between Abu Bassel al-Ladkani’s forces and the Islamic State over the region’s control over a tactical checkpoint near Turkey. The region has been taken over by powerful Islamist groups after Assad’s war efforts pushed radical Islamists to the north of Syria.

The Free Syrian Army has been attempting to create coalitions in order to reinforce its presence across the country while also attempting to create links with foreign allies like the U.S., which is willing to offer military aid to its organization. Despite vowing to offer support to the rebels, Washington seems somewhat willing to turn a blind eye to the FSA’s relationship with Al-Nusra Front, which is an al Qaeda associate operating in Syria and designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations and the United States in 2012.

President Assad, who failed to reform the economical interventionist regime put in place by his father after the coup in 1970, has frustrated those who were hopeful for a real administrative change. Heavy-handed state interventionism in the country’s economy has only generated opportunities to those with strong ties to the regime, which stifled economic progress in the region and created turmoil by pushing foreign investment away.

While the horrific civil war in Syria has taken over 90,000 lives since its beginning in early 2011, we shouldn’t ignore the potentially disastrous consequences in case weaponry provided by the U.S. ends up in the hands of extremist groups, particularly since Assad’s military is heavily backed by Russia and Iran.

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