Syria rebels warn of backlash over U.S. air strikes and poor ground strategy

Ian Pannell reports: Major Tayseer Darwish is a member of a secretive operations room run by the Friends of Syria group and rebel fighters.

He and other opposition leaders fear their support base could not only dwindle but also become hostile because of their co-operation with the West.

“Our popular support will be seriously damaged when it sees that the West and the Friends of Syria are going in a different direction than that of the revolution,” he says. “This is what we don’t want to lose.”

While the world focuses on Islamic State, gruesome beheadings and the coalition air campaign, Syria’s civil war grinds on.

Horrific daily attacks that kill and maim far more people than the jihadist militants do continue unabated.

That is why there is anger on the ground. Even though coalition jets are in the skies, people are barely safer than before.

Without a comprehensive ground strategy there is a risk of alienating the very people America and its allies should be winning over.

And in turn there is a risk that the threat to the West could actually grow as a result of its current tactics in Syria.

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