Gaziantep Turkey Wyndham Hotel
The brawl at the Wyndham Hotel was the latest in a series of clashes between Western-backed opposition groups in Turkey and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The Syrian opposition leader and leader of the western wing, who supports the political wing of the opposition, was punched three times in the face and punched in the face. In a video message, Jarba said Idriss had voted against the "difficulties of the Syrian revolution."
In his only comment after his appointment, he told the New York Times that he knew he was running for the SMC's top job after a friend called to congratulate him on his election. In his interview with Foreign Policy, Idriss said he agreed with Jarba's description of him as a "good guy" and "a good leader," and claimed he was "in the midst of reshaping" the SMC when he was fired. As someone who has been on the property before, what do you say to others?
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The man chosen to succeed Idriss and lead the initiative has stayed under the radar, refusing interview requests and making no public statements.
The conflict has pitted Jarba against a coalition of opposition forces that the United States hoped could lead Syria to a better future, but which are more focused on fighting each other as Assad's Islamist groups appear to gain strength. One of the men who is standing by Idriss is Bashar al-Assad, the former head of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who commands a sizeable force and enjoys respect in the ranks. The few dozen commanders on the ground in Syria who also refused to acknowledge the vote said they proudly read the names of their leaders and said he was still the "true leader" of the FSA. But the conflict between the rebels and the Assad regime has pitted the Baath groups against the moderate opposition leadership, which has effectively split them into two rival camps.
Analysts suspect that a larger regional power dynamic is at play, namely a rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and a rivalry between Turkey and the United States.
The two Gulf states support and compete intensely for influence in the Middle East, including in Syria, where the groups support different political actors. Tensions recently escalated when Saudi Arabia declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. Qatar has close ties to the venerable Islamist group, serves as a safe haven for its members and hosts many of its leaders, including the Brotherhood's leader, Mohammed Morsi. Jarba is a close ally of Saudi Arabia, while opponents accuse Idriss of moving closer to Qatar.
Meanwhile, outside powers seeking to back Syria's moderate rebels can only wait to see where the dust settles. Whether or not the Gulf states pulled the strings in Idriss's election, it is clear that the rebels have been affected by the shift in their foreign patrons.
Saudi Arabia has stepped up its support for the rebels in the south by sending weapons across the Jordanian border. Regime forces have recently consolidated their control over parts of Syria's southern and eastern provinces. The Syrian rebel group Free Syrian Army (FSA), a leading member of the rebel coalition, has been pulling its troops together and has been holding territory along Syria's border with Lebanon under its control for months.
Jarba and the SMC leadership have framed the personnel reshuffle as part of a larger strategic restructuring aimed at revitalizing an increasingly ineffective combat force. He said the plan envisaged the reformation of the FSA in northern Syria, where fighting with Islamists had weakened the strength of the rebels. We are here to work on these issues and heal the divisions that are currently tearing the group apart and damaging its cause.