We hear a lot about the Free Syrian Army allegedly no longer existing. But it's Assad's military that is just window-dressing at this point
Sometimes one picture really does say it all.
At right, we have a Shi'a cleric presiding over a funeral ceremony for fighters killed on the Syrian government side.
Evidently they have run out of coffins in Syria, which says a lot by itself.
(Judging by the photo stream, there were still coffins available as of a few weeks ago.)
Each body is draped in the banner or "logo" of the unit or movement or nation that its former occupant belonged to.
There are about 25 flags/bodies discernible.
There is only one Syrian flag.
(Well, maybe two at most. It's hard to see in the back.)
Most of the rest belong to various nations, movements, or militia units whose men fight in Syria under direct Iranian command.
But, one might say, this may be a sectarian Shi'a funeral, with even the dead fanatically segregated. Of course, they would be mostly foreigners.
And that's OK?
Who is the native and who is the foreign occupier?
And what exactly were they fighting for?
For a free and modern Syria? Or for some guy that was denied succession to the Prophet 1400 years ago?
Meanwhile, Iran's media have been announcing the (coffin) burials of as many as several dozen Iranian or allied fighters flown back to Iran each week. (See here for one aggregator of such news.)
(Unlike Russia, they apparently have no law to hide this information.)
Human Rights Watch has interviewed over two dozen Afghan refugees now or until recently residing in Iran, many of whom told stories of conscription of refugees and of being used as cannon fodder.
Evidently, Iranians enjoy life. Not enough of them believe in "the cause."
So their government must scrounge through the dregs of society like some old British navy press-gang raiding the pubs.
But of course, that is only part of the story.
Then we have the contract professionals from Iran's IRGC and an estimated 5000-6000 from Hezbollah (which has been ground up so bad that it suspended its practice of "anonymously" reporting its losses to the Lebanese press in mid-December.)
Then we have thousands of Russians, with "little green men" now seen outside-the-wire with increasing frequency.
Sounds like a veritable International to me.
A bit like ISIS, actually. Or Jabhat an-Nusra at a minimum.
I don't care much for ISIS, but I will never condemn a native "terrorist" fighting for his own soil, on his own soil, against a mercenary occupier (a contract killer) who flew in from Tehran or Sevastopol.
Just as I did not condemn the freedom-fighters in Donetsk or Lugansk.
(Even if they had more than a little "foreign" support—who cares? So did America in 1781. So did Vietnam. So do the Palestinians and a lot of other people.)
I don't do, "Oh that's different.. "
All men, whether bearded or clean-shaven—to include the Syrian Alawites as they made a stand for their home provinces—have the right to defend their own homes, families, and communities.
Let's hope that all of us keyboard-tappers, office plankton, loudmouths, armchair commandos, and assorted dilettantes never even have to think about exercising that right.
As for the so-called Syrian Arab Army:
As of now, with Russia reportedly loaning its tanks to Hezbollah and/or Shi'a militias under IRGC command, presumably because there aren't enough Syrian Alawites to crew them...
...We can say that as an offensive force, it barely even exists.
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