Desperate Rebels In Aleppo Finally Unite Against Assad

After years of fighting each other as well as Assad's forces, the groups say they're all finally on the same side

Syrian soldiers are very close to overrunning the last rebel strongholds in Aleppo — REUTERS
Dec 01, 2016 at 7:19 AM ET

In a move that may be considered too little, too late, the Syrian rebel groups under siege in eastern Aleppo have decided to finally band together to stop forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad from continuing to advance into the city.

The project might be for nought given the lateness of the hour in the battle for control of one of the region’s most ancient cities, but the new merger included Islamist and hardline armed groups who’d been fighting each other up until now as well as Assad’s forces.

The groups declared they would all fight under the name of Aleppo’s Army, opposition and rebel leaders announced Thursday. Groups including Ahrar al-Sham and Nour al-Din al-Zenki that had been in the past supported by the U.S were also part of the new deal.

The desperate move comes after the Syrian army and its allies took control of a large swathe of eastern Aleppo earlier this week, in what many see as a sign that the opposition is near defeat after years of fighting.

Leading Syrian opposition member Mohammed Aloush shared the news, calling upon armed groups from outside Aleppo to support the merger and said “this is the way to salvation.” Hussam Salamah from Ahrar al-Sham welcomed the “good tidings” with optimism. Other Syrians tweeted that the merger “was a blessed move towards the victory” and hoped it would “unite the ranks against the malicious enemy of Iran and its followers and Russia.”

The Syrian columnist Ahmad Muaffaq Zidan tweeted that “this model should be cloned into every Syrian city, regardless of the parties and factions that tore apart the revolution.”