Erika Solomon
Sept. 25, 2013

Powerful Syrian insurgent units have rejected the authority of the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC), badly damaging efforts by Western-backed political exiles to forge a moderate rebel military force on the ground.

Thirteen groups, including at least three previously considered part of the coalition’s military wing, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), signed a statement calling for the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad to be reorganised under an Islamic framework and to be run only by groups fighting inside Syria.

The signatories range from hardliners such as the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham battalions to more moderate Islamist groups such as the Tawheed Brigade and Islam Brigade.

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