Syrian rebels arm Palestinians against Assad

[The “Free Syrian Army,” which is armed and financed by the Gulf states and indirectly by the West, is now attacking Palestinians and Palestinian liberation groups base in Syria. Syrian conflict is not merely about Syria. The conflict represents a regional civil war between Iran, its allies, Baathists, and some pan-Arabists versus the West, Gulf states, Israel, Sunni forces like the Islamic Brotherhood and some Sunni Jihadists. The conflict is not just in Syria, but in Bahrain — where the West is supporting the brutal, bloody crackdown by the Sunni monarchy against the majority Shia population. Also the conflict is spreading into Turkey, where the Assad regime is allied with the Kurdish Workers’ Party against Turkish genocide. The conflict has also spread into Lebanon, with Hezbollah supporting the Assad regime. If Syria falls, it will represent  significant blow to Hezbollah which currently receive support from Iran vis Syria. While there re numerous problems with the Assad regime, the Assad regime is oppressive, its fall would represent a blow to the people in the region, it would represent a rise in power of pro-Western forces. Defend those attacked by imperialism. Uphold the broad united front against imperialism! Hold the Red Flag high! — New Power]

Syrian rebels arm Palestinians against Assad

By Mariam Karouny

(Reuters)

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian rebels said on Wednesday they had begun arming sympathetic Palestinians to fight a pro-Assad faction in a Palestinian enclave in Damascus – a move which could fuel spiraling intra-Palestinian violence.

Two rebel commanders told Reuters they expected their Palestinian allies to fight the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command (PFLP-GC) which dominates the Yarmouk enclave – a one-time refugee camp turned sprawl of apartment blocks which is run by the Palestinians themselves.

“We’ve been arming Palestinians who are willing to fight…We have formed the Liwa al-Asifah (the Storm Brigade)which is made up of Palestinian fighters only,” a rebel commander from the Suqour al-Golan (Golan Falcons) brigade said.

“Its task is to be in charge of the Yarmouk camp. We all support it and back it,” he told Reuters.

Yarmouk lies at the heart of several southern Damascus districts which have seen heavy fighting between the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) and President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

The Palestinians would be expected to attack fighters loyal to PFLP-GC chief Ahmed Jibril, who Syrian rebels accuse of harassing and attacking them to support Assad.

“Now they (the PFLP-GC fighters) are targets for us, targets for all the FSA. All of them with no exceptions,” said another rebel commander who asked not to be named.

Syria hosts half a million Palestinian refugees, mostly descendants of those admitted after the creation of Israel in 1948, and has always cast itself as a champion of the Palestinian struggle, sponsoring several guerrilla factions.

But Syria’s uprising has split Palestinian loyalties, with many ordinary Palestinians sympathetic to the uprising by their fellow Sunnis.

The Islamist Palestinian Hamas movement closed its offices in Damascus earlier this year.

Palestinians have in any case been riven by factionalism for decades, their differences exacerbated by the 1975-1990 civil war in neighboring Lebanon, where they also have a strong presence. Intra-Palestinian fighting in Syria could lead to similar tensions in Lebanon.

BOMB ATTACK IN YARMOUK

Residents at Yarmouk, home to about 150,000 Palestinians, said gunmen had been seen in the streets and some people kidnapped in recent days, eight of whom had been killed. It was not clear who was responsible.

A bomb exploded on Wednesday under the car of a Syrian army colonel in Yarmouk, although he was not in the vehicle, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. A Syrian rebel commander claimed responsibility, calling it a “gift to Jibril’s people which will be followed by others”.

Syria hosts many Palestinian factions which fought Israel and also each other in the 1970s and 1980s. Some like Fatah, the group of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, fought Syrian forces in Lebanon during the civil war and its fighters still bear a grudge against Assad and his late father, Hafez al-Assad.

The creation of a Palestinian rebel group could mark an opportunity to settle historic scores with the Assad dynasty.

Palestinians officials in Syria refused to comment while a Palestinian official in Lebanon said: “We do not want any Palestinian involvement in the incidents in Syria, what is happening there is an internal matter.”

Activists estimate that at least 32,000 people have been killed in the 19-month revolt against Assad.

(Additional reporting Oliver Holmes; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

A WordPress.com Website.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: