If they haven’t already.
Via The Hill:
“If nobody else helps us, we will make an alliance with them,” said one of the rebel commanders.
Rebel fighters squaring off against Syrian government troops in brutal fighting near the city of Aleppo could turn to al Qaeda for support if Western powers do not take military action against President Bashar Assad.
“We don’t want al-Qaeda here, but if nobody else helps us, we will make an alliance with them,” Abu Ammar, a rebel commander stationed in Aleppo, told Reuters on Thursday.
“And you can bet if Al-Qaeda comes here … the city will become their base within three months,” according to Ammar.
Fighters from al Qaeda’s Iraqi faction have been streaming into the country over the past year, looking to take advantage of the brewing civil war between government troops and paramilitary forces loyal to Assad and rebel forces battling to oust the longtime Syrian president.
“We want them to give us weapons to defend ourselves or to intervene militarily,” Ammar said. “We are angry. The Syrian people still like the European countries, but if it continues like this, you end up hating them.”
That hate could end up pushing Syria’s rebels into an alliance with al Qaeda, whose fighters are now operating independently alongside groups like the Free Syrian Army and other anti-Assad factions in the country.
News of a possible al Qaeda alliance comes amid recent reports that formerly disparate groups of al Qaeda militants operating in Syria are now coordinating themselves into functional terror cells.
That type of consolidation among al Qaeda forces in the country could lead to the growth of al Qaeda faction in Syria, akin to those headquartered in Yemen, Africa and Iraq, according to U.S. intelligence.