Amazing news. Syria seems to be slipping into civil war.
120 security forces dead and 35 opposition members killed. Rebels reportedly number in the 1000’s and are armed with RPG’s and automatic weapons. The biased Western news is casting doubt on the figures, saying that the government ginned them up to justify a crackdown. But the figures appear to be valid. Attacks included an ambush on police, the blowing up of a post office and rebel snipers on rooftops.
Nine tanks were destroyed, and 2 helicopters were downed. All of the government buildings in town were burned to the ground. Monday night they seized the army’s explosive stores near the dams on the Orontes River. They used these to blow up dams over the river that link central and southern Syria. This will prevent tanks from moving into the area to put down the uprising.
On Internet sites, supporters of the regime (there are many, many of them) are furious about the soldiers being killed and are demanding blood. Meanwhile, opposition supporters are cheered.
This purely Sunni Arab city is right near the Turkish border and the rebels got the weapons smuggled in from Turkey. The fighters are 100% made of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. The MB has had decades of military experience in fighting the Syrian regime. They even had training camps in Iraq for a time. Many have since gone on to become a major faction in Al Qaeda.
In fact, this is how Al Qaeda developed. After the crackdowns against the MB in Egypt and Syria around 1980, many Egyptian and Syrian MB members fled their countries for various places. Many went to Saudi Arabia, often as religious teachers. There, their militant stance mixed with Wahhabi theology (at that point, mostly quietist) to produce a potent brew. This is what led to Al Qaeda.
When talking of Al Qaeda, it is sometime said, “All roads lead to the Ikhwan.” The Ikhwan is the MB, in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria. The MB is also big in Jordan, but they are mostly quietist there. The Palestinian MB is actually Hamas, but Hamas does not like to discuss that because the MB is not popular in Palestine.
The relationship between the MB and Al Qaeda and other such groups is very complex. Obviously, many MB members are not supporters of Al Qaeda, much less members. MB groups do not openly support Al Qaeda. But the MB is like an incubation tube where jihadis fester for a while before they move to Al Qaeda. Furthermore, MB members flow in and out of Al Qaeda, and AQ members flow in and out of MB, and nobody much discusses this in either organization.
The MB is a huge organization, and obviously most are not jihadis. But the MB is always spinning off small numbers of jihadis that move on to groups like Al Qaeda.
I hope I explained that well enough.