Last week, Hazem Ameen from Al-Hayat wrote on the Nusra Front’s rising presence in Syria, concluding that the radical Islamist group is fighting the regime, alongside the Syrian people’s revolution, not within it. In a nutshell, Jihadists remain an external force with a different agenda to the revolution’s early aspirations. This remains a very bold statement, but it draws a clear line for the revolution’s mainstream enthusiasts and supporters. Nusra cannot become mainstream in Syria, however conservative the country is, and as Ameen rightly argues, the regime has facilitated their growth.
Just like the extrajudicial executions of captured soldiers, suicide bombings, imposing Islamic sharia on locals, the Syrian Jihadists’ Mali sympathies would not put many of the revolution’s Arab and even local supporters at ease. Sharia and transnational sympathies are not really on the plate for Syrians who are still suffering from the regime’s brutal firepower.
Here is a sample of the recently expressed sympathies: