Reuters reports: In the past, rebels on the ground have mainly steered clear of politics, a subject left to umbrella groups like the largely exile-based National Coalition, which meets in Turkey. But leaders of the Southern Front say they have decided to take political issues into their own hands.
“We did not get involved in these matters before. We left them to others. But now it is time. We can no longer risk squandering Syria,” defected army officer Abu Osama al-Jolani, 37, southern commander of the Syria Revolutionaries’ Front, told Reuters in an interview over the Internet.
Their plan, still unpublished but disclosed to Reuters, calls for turning the Southern Front rebels into a civilian security force. National institutions including the military would be safeguarded, and a technocratic interim authority would be set up to be followed by elections.
The plan emphasizes protection for all Syrians regardless of religious, cultural or ethnic affiliations – language apparently aimed at reassuring Assad’s Alawite sect and Christians who fear the alternative to him is a radical Islamist government.
It could be in line with thinking in Washington, where CNN reported Obama wants a policy review, realizing Islamic State may not be defeated without a transition and Assad’s removal. [Continue reading…]