There has recently been a small stir in the American media, as media organizations from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal to the Associated Press have finally gotten around to acknowledging a “presence” of al-Qaeda and like-minded jihadist groups among the Syrian rebel forces seeking to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad. But observations made by German journalist Daniel Etter during a recent visit to rebel-controlled towns near the embattled city of Aleppo suggest that there is no mere “presence” of jihadists among the rebels: religiously-inspired mujahideen is what the rebels are. The real question is whether there is a presence of anything else.
Etter’s report also provides evidence that rebel authorities are subjecting civilians to arbitrary detention and torture and summarily executing captured members of the regular Syrian armed forces.
For the details, see my new article on Asia Times Online here.
Update: A more complete version of this article, with links to source and supporting materials, is now available at the Investigative Project on Terrorism here.