Wow, the exact opposite of that statement is true.
Yes, the rebels started off as secular, but that was a long time ago, these days there isn’t a single secular fighting force on the ground in Syria. Even the FSA units that actually fight (most sit in the rear asking for money from the west), do so under al Nusra Front or ISIL’s command.
Via transcript from today’s Senate hearing:
SEN. JOHNSON: What do we know about the opposition? I mean, what is — have we been tracking them for the last two years? I mean, it seems like — and this is more of an impression I have as opposed to any exact knowledge, but it seems like initially, the opposition was maybe more Western-leaning, more moderate, more democratic, and as time has gone by, it’s degraded, become more infiltrated by al-Qaida. That — is that basically true? Or to — (inaudible) — has that happened?
SEC. KERRY: No, that is — no, that is actually basically not true. It’s basically incorrect. The opposition has increasingly become more defined by its moderation, more defined by the breadth of its membership and more defined by its adherence to some, you know, democratic process and to an all-inclusive, minority-protecting constitution, which will be broad-based and secular with respect to the future of Syria. And that’s very critical.