Amnesty International released a scathing report July 4 detailing numerous human rights violations by Syrian rebel groups in Idlib and Aleppo provinces. The U.S. Anti-ISIS mission relies heavily on Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State on its behalf.
The human rights watchdog group detailed numerous reports of “abductions, torture and summary killings” and was shocked to find may of the groups use the “the same methods of torture that are routinely used by the Syrian government.” The report further says that many of the groups who egregiously violate human rights are backed by “the International Syria Support Group including the USA, Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.”
The report raises troubling questions for the future of Syria if Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime collapses. Currently, there is no rebel group that is decisively winning the war against the Syrian regime. The rebel groups have yet to coalesce into a governing unit with enough bargaining power to negotiate a settlement.
“Victims included peaceful activists and even some children, as well as minorities targeted solely because of their religion,” the report says. One of the most egregious violators of human rights is al-Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra. Jabhat al-Nusra is deeply ingrained with the Syrian population. The Institute for the Study of War noted in February, 2016, “the slow pace of U.S. strategy and its exclusive prioritization of ISIS are facilitating Jabhat al Nusra’s deeper entrenchment within the opposition.”
Russia has predicated its Syrian intervention on the idea that the Assad regime is the only force within Syria which can defeat ISIS and other jihadi elements. Many experts counter Assad is the reason many Sunni rebels groups continue to fight, and that the continuation of the Syrian civil war allows groups like ISIS to thrive on the battlefield.
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