Syria Daily, Jan 4: Insurgents & Civilians v. Islamic State of Iraq


LATEST: Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham Claims Beirut Bomb


In an unexpected and potentially important turn in Syria’s conflict, insurgents and protesters rallied on Friday against the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham.

The ISIS started the chain of events on Thursday when it tried to take control of Atareb in Aleppo Province, shelling the town and challenging insurgent factions.

Those factions hit back, however. Video indicated that they seized ISIS fighters and a commander in Atareb, and they detained ISIS members in other towns and in Aleppo city.

Video from Atareb:

In some locations, such as Maarat al-Nu’man in Idlib Province, the ISIS fighters did not resist. In others, however, there were serious clashes. In Aleppo city, sources indicated that at least 10 fighters on each side were killed.

Meanwhile, protesters across Syria, on a Friday dedicated to a doctor tortured and slain by ISIS, called for a halt to kidnapping, abuses, and killings by the group. On at least one occasion, captured on video, ISIS fighters fired on the demonstrators.

A demonstration in Massaknat in Aleppo Province:

Salaheddin in Aleppo city:

See other videos and pictures on Syrian Freedom Forever site

The Islamic Front, the leading insurgent bloc, issued a statement calling for ISIS to withdraw immediately from Atareb:

[ISIS must] end the killing of the fighters based on false excuses and return all unfairly confiscated properties of weapons and bases to their rightful owners and they must accept the rule of God by agreeing to the judgments of the independent religious courts to resolve the conflicts that arise between them and the other factions.

Hassan Aboud, the head of Ahrar al-Sham — a key group in the Islamic Front — told Al Jazeera:

ISIS denies reality, refusing to recognize that it is simply another group. It refuses to go to independent courts; it attacked many other groups, stole their weapons, occupied their headquarters, and arbitrarily apprehended numerous activists, journalists and rebels. It has been torturing its prisoners. These transgressions accumulated, and people got fed up with ISIS. Some of those people have attacked ISIS’s positions, but ISIS was first to attack in other places, bringing this on itself.

But does this now mean a showdown between insurgency factions, supported by many civilians, and ISIS?

An EA analyst evaluates:

I don’t believe this was a coordinated operation against ISIS. It was a response to their actions in past days and the motto of this Friday’s protests.

The clashes escalated, and that’s absolutely unwanted by the Islamic Front due to the military situation facing the regime in the north.

The Islamic Front will try to calm down things as long as possible, although they won’t allow ISIS to attack them.

However, the timing of the move against ISIS is suitable, given that many of its fighters were moved to Anbar and Fallujah recently [to fight for control of Iraq’s western areas].

Some Free Syrian Army factions might have made their plans in advance, though — they have to please their Western donors.

Overall, Syrians lost patience as ISIS overstepped.

Ahrar al-Sham’s Abboud offered a way back from confrontation in the Al Jazeera interview:

We would like these [ISIS] brothers to join their brethren in the Syrian revolution. We see them as nothing but another group….

[Islamist faction Jabhat al-] Nusra doesn’t differ in ideology and authority from ISIS, but they have been able to work hand in glove with the other militias because they have followed the rule that no objective has a higher priority then pushing back the enemy. So we call on ISIS to follow Nusra’s lead.

Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham Claims Beirut Bomb

Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham has claimed Thursday’s suicide car bomb in a Beirut suburb that killed four people and wounded 77.

ISIS said in an online statement that it had penetrated the “security system of the Party of Satan (Hezbollah)…and crush its strongholds…in a first small payment from the heavy account that is awaiting those wicked criminals”.

Hezbollah’s forces have fought alongside the Syrian military, particularly since May.

The bombing was in the Haret Hreik district, a southern suburb with strong support for Hezbollah.

Key Opposition Group Repeats: We Will Not Go to “Peace” Talks

The Syrian National Council, the leading group within the opposition Syrian National Coalition, reaffirmed Friday that it will not attend “peace” talks scheduled for January 22 in Switzerland.

“After meetings with many international delegations in recent weeks… the Syrian National Council confirms it sees no reason to attend the Geneva conference,” Council member Samir Nashar said.

Nashar also forecast that the Coalition, which has still not taken a definitive decision, will not participate.

The opposition has demanded that President Assad commit to stepping down from power if the talks are held.

In October, Council President George Sabra said that the group had taken a “firm decision” not to attend the talks. He said the Council would withdraw from the Coalition if the latter decided to go.

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  1. It has been at least a month now since rebels closed the Damascus/Homs road. If the regime hasn’t opened it by now, it never will.

    I’d love to see a report on how life has changed in regime-held areas of Damascus. There are enough westerners present for someone to do this surely.

    I wonder particularly how the fuel situation is affecting life there, including food deliveries, the economy, military mobility and any change in the rate at which the regime expends munitions and firepower.

  2. About mid-afternoon yesterday, I started a new Syria roundup with the following lead topic:

    “If ISIS is Assad’s ally, why does it sometimes slaughter pro-Assad minorities or Assad fighters?

    I’ve added one update since and will do so again under that header until at least mid-afternoon when I may start a new roundup. I tend to cover events at different times than EA due to the big time zone difference.

    My next update will include the following item which I post here because it ties in with EA’s lead today.

    FSA: “ISUS is part of the regime and must be fought accordingly.”

    Luay Mekdad, FSA’s political and media coordinator, argues that ISIS is a stab in the back of the Syrian Revolution and its fighters do not fight in the real battles fought by the FSA against the Assad regime.

    Abdel Basset Sida, member of the political committee, adds “we should have decisively dealt with ISIS and other tools used by the Assad regime to hold on to power from the beginning…these factions are made by the regime with the aim of creating chaos in the ranks…There is an urgent need to face the facts and deal with it more seriously as soon as possible.”

    • let me ask you this, if ISIS is Assad’s ally, why did the rebels let them into their areas and fought side by side with them attacking government positions for 2 years?

      thank you in advance

      • ISIS validated the regime’s propaganda. However, the rebels welcomed ISIS because they promised to provide suicide bombs. The very best weapon in the revolution is the suicide bomb. Much better than scuds or barrel bombs. It can be any size and almost always hits the exact target intended. Assad bases and checkpoints are virtually defenseless against them.

        Hopefully, ISIS withdrawal will increase the supply of Suicide guidance systems to Al Nusra. That would be good.

        • are you listening to yourself, you are saying its good to commit suicide bombing, you really need to reevaluate your morals, and if you should be living in the western world, with the ones you portary here.

      • because they didn’t know them

        FACT is ISIS had a big well known HQ in Aleppo yet terrorists regime didn’t bomb that instead they bombed civilians in Aleppo

        the simple matter is ISIS suited ASSad just fine with his terrorists propaganda line

  3. 3 ISIS carbombs have hit the rebels in Hreitan, Atareb & TalRifat

    probably more to come ISIS seems to be pulling back to bigger cities they can defend, also talk of government reinforcements in salahedine stadium area.

    next few days mightt change the grand picture

  4. FSA official: Qaeda group ISIL backed by Assad, Iran, Iraq

    A Syrian rebel army official told Al Arabiya Saturday that the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is “a group of gangsters following” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Iran and Iraq.

    The Secretary General of the FSA, Captain Ammar al-Wawi, said the sole aim of ISIL is to “hijack the Syrian revolution,” which began after protests against Syrian President al-Assad in March 2011 transformed into a civil war.


    Activists also said that Islamic rebels fighting in Syria have given ISIL 24 hours to surrender.

    Ahmad al-Khatib, an activist in the Jabal al-Zawiya region in northwestern Idlib, said Islamic rebels have given ISIL members an ultimatum to surrender by Saturday afternoon.

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