Abdel Jabbar Akaidi, the Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) chief for Aleppo province, has said that a limited military strike in Syria, like the one being proposed by the Obama administration, would do more harm to the opposition than good.
According to Akaidi, if the Assad regime is not dealt a significant blow Syrians will suffer when the government forces retaliate. Salim Idris, chief of staff of the FSA Supreme Military Council, hopes that any strike against Assad will not be just a “slap on the wrist.”
From Syria Deeply:
Salim Idris, the chief of staff of the Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) Supreme Military Council, says he hopes for a devastating strike against the regime, not just a “slap on the wrist” with little to no impact.
“There is no more room for excuses from the international community after this massacre,” says Idris, a former brigadier general in Assad’s army, who defected in July 2012.
Abdel Jabbar Akaidi, the FSA’s chief for Aleppo province, enjoys wide support among rebel ranks. He says that a weak campaign could do more harm than good. “If the strikes target the airports, Scud missile launchers, and command and control headquarters, then they will cripple the regime,” he tells Syria Deeply.
On the other hand, “a light strike would be worse than doing nothing. If it’s not the death blow, this game helps the regime even more. The Syrian people will only suffer more death and devastation when the regime retaliates.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said something similar yesterday before a vote on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s resolution on intervention in Syria. Like Akaidi and Idris, McCain said that a limited strike would not go far enough. McCain went on to vote for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s resolution after his amendment that said America's goal was to “change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria” was accepted. The committee rejected an amendment proposed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that would have declared Obama in violation of the Constitution if he orders a military strike in Syria without Congressional authorization.
According to Syria Deeply, while some of the FSA’s leadership may want a large strike against the Assad regime many soldiers fighting in the FSA are skeptical about the Obama administration’s motives for such a strike:
But civilians and fighters living in rebel territories remain skeptical of U.S. motives for intervention. While many FSA commanders are still holding out for Western support, rank and file soldiers are cynical.
“The U.S. will not topple Assad because it is in their interest to let the regime continue fighting with the jihadists,” says a fighter named Ahmed, referring to groups like ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, which are becoming increasingly influential on the ground.
Abu Hussein says that the FSA and regular citizens “think the Americans informed the regime of the strike targets in advance.
“We’re not going to benefit from a strike at this point, since the regime had time to prepare itself. The army and security forces have transferred their men from their headquarters and bases and stationed them in schools and hospitals and civilian areas. The only way it would be useful now is if they dealt a major blow.”
As well intended as a limited American military strike on Syria might be, some rebels are skeptical about how useful such an intervention might be and others question the Obama administration's motives.