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Internal war among Syrian opposition groups begins

January 13, 2014, 12:00 UTC+3 World Service) ¶ 13/1 Tass ¶ MOSCOW

Experts interviewed by the Kommersant daily believe that one of the reasons for the current internal war is the struggle for money from the sponsors

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MOSCOW, January 13. /ITAR-TASS World Service/. A new war has broken out in Syria — this time between the groups opposing Bashar al-Assad. These clashes in the number of victims and intensity often outstrip clashes between the opposition and government forces, the Kommersant daily writes on Monday.

The main sides of the new war are the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIS), linked with Al-Qaeda, on the one side, and more moderate movements — on the other. Experts explain the intensification of fighting with the approaching Geneva 2 peace conference on Syria. Opponents of the regime want to demonstrate to the West and their sponsors from the Gulf countries that they are able to conduct an exemplary anti-terrorist operation.

Moderate opposition groups are in a hurry to complete the sweep of the northern regions of the country from the jihadists before January 22, when the Geneva 2 conference will open in the Swiss town of Montreux. The strengthening of the positions of Islamic extremists, that has happened in recent months, worries not only the Western powers that have frozen military aid to the Syrian opposition, but also its main sponsor — Saudi Arabia.

The ISIS forcing out from the opposition-controlled cities and provinces can be regarded as a kind of a “pre- sale preparation” on the eve of the Geneva 2 conference — the anti-government movements are trying to present themselves as a responsible force, which can be dealt with and which can cleanse their ranks of the most dangerous radicals, Kommersant believes.

Experts interviewed by the Kommersant daily believe that one of the reasons for the current internal war is the struggle for money from the sponsors, an attempt to redistribute financial flows.

In the last few days alone, about 500 people have been killed in fierce fighting — the opposition has not had such intensive fighting with the government troops for quite a while.

“Obviously, the armed conflict, continuing in Syria and spreading into the neighboring countries, is posing a growing in scale threat to international security,” the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper writes. Therefore, the efforts to find a political solution with the participation of all Syrian forces, are acquiring greater importance. Measures to prevent the spread of the conflict to other countries in the region, in order not to turn it into a total Sunni-Shiite war, could help these efforts. In the interests of international security, it is necessary to exert coordinated efforts against the use of the Syrian territory and neighboring countries as breeding grounds for terrorists. Syria should not become a new base of the terrorist Al-Qaeda and its clones,” the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper writes.


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