Daily Archives: November 14, 2012

Mapping Syria’s Armed Opposition

Mapping Syria’s Armed Opposition has a really cool interactive map of the different groups and their affiliations.

The map also illustrates two diverging trends developing within the opposition. The more regular units of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) are loosely organized through regional councils, tend to be led by high-ranking military defectors, are rarely ideologically driven and are at least nominally connected to the leadership of Riad al-Assad and Mustapha al-Sheikh in Turkey (although internal leaders such as Qasem Sa’ad al-Din carry more weight on the ground). The funding for these outfits is primarily from state sponsors, most notably Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Meanwhile, a plethora of other fighting groups are emerging that tend to be led by civilians or low-ranking defectors, are more ideologically inclined and are patronized by wealthy Shiekhs from Gulf Cooperation Council states, the Muslim Brotherhood or other Islamic institutions. As one FSA source told Executive, “Now any old Sheikh can buy a militia.”