Most Syrian rebels sympathise with Isis, says thinktank

More than half of the rebel fighters in Syria who are opposing President Bashar al-Assad are sympathetic to Islamic State views, a leading thinktank has claimed.

The Centre on Religion and Geopolitics said efforts to wipe out Isis in Syria and Iraq would not end the global threat from jihadi groups because extremist views were common among Syrian fighters of all stripes.

At least 15 militias, numbering 65,000 fighters, could fill any vacuum resulting from a defeat of Isis in Syria and Iraq by a coalition led by the US, a report by the thinktank found.

About 60% of fighters in rebel factions in Syria identified with a religious and political ideology similar to that of the terror group, it added.

The thinktank, run by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, said: “The west risks making a strategic failure by focusing only on IS. Defeating it militarily will not end global jihadism. We cannot bomb an ideology, but our war is ideological.” [The Guardian] Read more

Defeating Isis ‘will not end global jihadism’ and a third of Syria rebels share same aim

Jihadi terror in Syria will not end if Isis is defeated and there are 15 other jihadist groups ready to take their place, according to a new report.

Other hardline Islamist militias, with similar religious beliefs and political goals to the so-called “Islamic State” group, represent around a third of all Syrian rebel fighters.

The study authors suggest that any one of these groups could grow to fill the void caused by the military defeat of Isis itself. While the CIA estimates there are just 31,000 Isis fighters in Syria, these other factions include some 65,000 militants in total.

The new report was published by the Centre on Religion and Geopolitics, an initiative linked to the former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

It looked at the views of 48 Syrian rebel factions, and found 33 per cent follow Isis’s ideology, Sky News reports.
This figure increases to 60 per cent if you include Islamist groups who are seeking to create a state government by Sharia Law.

The report states: “If Isis is defeated, there are at least 65,000 fighters belonging to other Salafi-jihadi groups ready to take its place. [The Independent] Read more

Defeating IS Will Not End Global Terror: Report

The defeat of Islamic State will not end worldwide jihadist terrorism because as many as 15 hard-line Islamist militias are capable of succeeding the group in Syria, a new report suggests.

…. The research has been presented in a publication titled If the Castle Falls: Ideology and Objectives of the Syrian Rebellion.

The publication was produced by the Centre on Religion & Geopolitics, an initiative of The Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

The study examined 48 rebel factions in Syria and reveals that 33% – nearly 100,000 fighters – follow IS’s ideology.

The figure rises to 60% if Islamist groups – those who seek to establish a state government by Islamic law, or Sharia – are included.

Some 90% of the groups in Syria support the ouster of President Bashar al Assad, with the report suggesting that “there can be no peace deal that keeps Assad in power”.

Another major objective for many of the groups fighting in the civil war is the establishment of some form of Islamic law. [Sky News] Read more