What I learned in World Politics: Syrian Rebel Groups

Like the International Law class, students in my World Politics class this semester were given a last assignment where they were asked to choose a current news story and relate it to what they learned this semester.  Here is the first in this series of papers – a student guest post on the basics of the Syrian rebellion.


Al Jazeera has an excellent interactive map of the different groups that make up the Syrian rebellion.
Al Jazeera has an excellent interactive map of the different groups that make up the Syrian rebellion.

 Syrian Rebel Groups

The Free Syrian Army group (FSA) was formed in August 2011 by army deserters based in Turkey, led by Col Riad al-Asaad.  There are many stories in the news over these groups, so I thought I would just describe what they are and what they do. They’re leader, Brig Gen Salim Idris, was a general in the Syrian Army before he deserted in July of 2012. Now he is the Chief of Staff for the Supreme Military Counsel (SMC) for the Free Syrian Army. As previously stated, the FSA is made of military deserters. In spite of their experience, there are also many that are just regular people fighting for a cause they believe in. Because of this, the FSA’s leaders have a difficult time keeping operational control over what their men are doing. The rebels are known for being chaotic and unorganized.

Before the discussion over this in class, I never really paid much attention to these groups. I just thought of them as crazy, irrational, radicalist’s who needed to be stopped. I thought equally bad of the Syrian Army, especially because two wrongs do not make a right. But after we discussed this topic as a class, I realized that these men are just fighting for a cause they believe in, and some are worse than others, but a major contributing factor to their radical fighting tactics is that they are just simply inexperienced. They get access to these weapons, but do not know how to correctly use them, much less follow orders given to them by their leaders. They have never been taught discipline like the others have in the army, therefore, they are unorganized and come off as crazy. While I still don’t agree with everything going on in this war, whether it be the Syrian Army or the FSA, I now understand why the rebels are acting the way they do.

References

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