According to the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), forces of the Free Syrian Army massacred the village on May 27: “The armed rebels affiliated to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) raided the Christian-populated al-Duvair village in Reef (outskirts of) Homs near the border with Lebanon today and massacred all its civilian residents, including women and children. The Syrian army, however, intervened and killed tens of terrorists during heavy clashes which are still going on in al-Duvair village.”
Although the United States had opposed the involvement of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front in the rebel coalition, it did not express such reservations in December when Obama lavished his praise on the coalition. As the New York Times reported at that time:
But Mr. Obama praised the opposition, known formally as the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, for what he said was its inclusiveness, its openness to various ethnic and religious groups, and its ties to local councils involved in the fighting against Mr. Assad’s security forces.
“At this point we have a well-organized-enough coalition — opposition coalition that is representative — that we can recognize them as the legitimate representative of Syrian people,” he said.…
The United States has played an active role behind the scenes in shaping the opposition, insisting that it be broadened and made more inclusive. But until Mr. Obama’s announcement, the United States had held off on formally recognizing the opposition, asserting that it wanted to use the lure of recognition to encourage the rebel leaders to flesh out their political structure and fill important posts.
Now Obama’s inclusive opposition has allegedly slaughtered the entire population of al-Duvair, which is the type of crime that the U.S. president has previously purported was sufficient reason for the people of Syria to rise up and overthrow their government. And the massacre is hardly an isolated incident; for example, only several weeks ago, rebels attacked the St. Elijah Orthodoxy monastery. As Voice of Russia reported on May 12: “The militants ransacked the cloister, destroyed the sanctuary, blew up the belfry and tore down the statue of St. Prophet Elijah who is equally revered in Syria by both Christians and Muslims, Syria’s SANA news agency reports, quoting the head of the monastery, hegumen Gadir Ibrahim. The hegumen believes the attack to be the work of foreign mercenaries.”
Reports of foreign mercenaries are nothing new in the war against the Assad regime, and the “Syrian” character of the rebellion has been in doubt for some time. As the Independent reported on December 20:
Fighters from as many as 29 countries have filtered into Syria to join a civil war that has split along sectarian lines, increasingly pitting the ruling Alawite community against the majority Sunni Muslims, UN human rights investigators said today.
The deepened sectarian divisions in Syria may diminish prospects for post-conflict reconciliation even if President Bashar al-Assad is toppled. And the influx of foreign fighters raises the risk of the war spilling into neighbouring countries. (more…)
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