Moderate rebels in Syria a ‘fantasy’ of Western media

Syrian servicemen enter the city of Atshan in the Hama province.
All anti-Assad rebels at this current moment in time have intent to kill, they’re using heavy armaments, using mining on areas in which they are leaving, Danny Makki, from the Syrian Youth Movement in the UK, told RT.

RT:  The Russian Defense Ministry says militants in Syria are mining residential areas as they retreat... What are they trying to achieve with these tactics?

Danny Makki: Ultimately, this is a scorched earth policy which some of the rebel groups have been using for around four years now where every single area they leave after the Syrian Army enters it or different group is essentially destroy the food supplies. Any potential areas where the Army can use as encampments or actually utilize for strategic purpose are being destroyed, literally, through mining, through explosives and dynamite. This has been quite a regular factor of every area the Syrian Army has entered has essentially been destroyed as soon as they have arrived. The rebel groups are so cautious as to not leave one inch of strategic gain. So, it would make them destroy any area which may be utilized by the Syrian army or any other groups fighting alongside the Syrian Army.

A fighter from Harakat Ahrar ash-Sham Al Islami (Islamic Movement of the Free Men of the Levant) with his weapon © Diaa Al-Din

RT:  Moscow is being accused of targeting the moderate opposition. But would the groups labeled as moderate be mining residential houses?

DM: Exactly, this just brings us to the chaos of terminology which is present on Syria. Some of these moderate groups are really nowhere to be seen. This is ultimately a fantasy which is present in the Western press and media. But I’ve yet to identify one truly moderate rebel group within Syria, apart from maybe Hazzm movement (Harakat al-Hazm) which was created by the US and was incidentally destroyed by Al-Qaeda. So, this is a myth of rebels who are moderate and how they are using moderate techniques and not beheading Syrian soldiers.

All anti-Assad rebels at this current moment in time have intent to kill, they’re using heavy armaments, using mining on areas in which they are leaving. And ultimately there is no really big difference, neither militarily or ideologically, between some of the mainstream Islamist groups within the conflict and some of these so-called moderate groups. But even with the admission of the US, these moderate groups amount to maybe hundreds at the bare minimum of fighters… So, ultimately, the major presence of rebels in Syria is manifested by the Islamic extremist groups such as Ahrar ash-Sham. And the Western media describes these as moderate Islamic extremist groups such as the so-called Jaysh Islam or Jaysh al Fatah recently which is a constellation of groups including Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, which Western media outlets and some Western officials have deemed as moderate allies within Syria. But if you look deep in to these moderate groups there is no actual level of moderation within the ideology. And their actions are not the actions of a group which has an ideological consensus with Western countries.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.