Patrick Cockburn is an experienced observer of the Middle East, so it is disappointing that his article of 23 June oversimplifies a complex situation.
When he writes, for example, about the “revolt of the Sunni in Syria” he represents the uprising in Syria as entirely religious or sectarian in nature. This is untrue. Members of all religions joined in the protests against Assad’s government, and all religions are represented today in the Syrian Opposition Coalition. His statement that “the Syrian opposition is dominated by Isis and al-Qa’ida groups” is, again, the opposite of the truth. Our own affiliates the Free Syrian Army – defined by the UN as “Syrian moderate nationalists” – are fighting with some success on two fronts against both the Assad regime and Isis. Their successes would be greater if they had more help from the West.
On 3 June, on this letters page I warned that insufficient support for moderate nationalist rebels in Syria would result in the strengthening of religious extremists, and that the spillover from Syria would soon affect other countries in the region, and maybe Europe. Six days later, Isis took control of Mosul and now Western jihadis are paraded in propaganda videos or on social media urging their former compatriots to join them or, worse, return home with malicious intent.
The stakes couldn’t be higher. Our fight with Isis is part of a wider struggle and deserves greater support.
Monzer Akbik, Chief of Staff, Office of the President of the Syrian Opposition Coalition, Istanbul
Source : The Independent