Shared battlefield goals trump ideology among Syria rebels - for now




 
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April 30th, 2015  
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Topic: Shared battlefield goals trump ideology among Syria rebels - for now


By Dasha Afanasieva REYHANLI, Turkey (Reuters) - Hardline Islamists fighting side-by-side with groups backed by the United States have made gains in northern Syria in recent weeks while showing rare unity, which some fear may be short-lived. An Islamist alliance calling itself Army of Fatah, a reference to the conquests that spread Islam across the Middle East from the seventh century, has seized northwestern towns including the provincial capital Idlib from government forces. The alliance, which includes al-Qaeda's wing in Syria, known as the Nusra Front, and another hardline militant group, the Ahrar al-Sham movement, is edging closer to the coastal province of Latakia, President Bashar al-Assad's stronghold. While the Islamist groups appear to be stronger than their Western-backed allies, it is a rare example of cooperation, just weeks after Nusra Front fighters crushed a previous U.S. backed rebel force in a blow to Washington's Syria strategy.




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