As international recognition grows for the Syrian National Coalition as the ‘legitimate representative’ of the Syrian people, Islamist groups in Syria have rejected the coalition, unilaterally declaring the city of Aleppo an Islamic state.
Members from 13 Islamist rebel groups, some wearing military uniform, have released a video message rejecting the coalition as a Western tool. Sitting in front of the Quran and proclaiming, “Allah Akbar” the group includes a prominent militant al-Qaeda affiliate the Jabhat al-Nusra. This cell has made headlines for suicide bombing campaigns and as a leader of the fighting in Aleppo.
A key part of the message released online read: “We reached a consensus on the establishment of a just Islamic state and the rejection of any foreign plan from coalitions or councils imposed on those of us inside [Syria] no matter which side it [intervention] comes from,” as quoted by the Wall Street Journal.
The release of the message coincides with growing international recognition of the US-European backed Syrian National Coalition which was formed as an umbrella organization to unite and represent all the rebel fractions fighting on the ground.
But despite the new coalition gaining international recognition, there are doubts about it’s legitimacy on the ground. “We do not know who this coalition is, they don’t control anything on the ground and yet the West wants them to be the sole representative of us,” Dr Ali Mohamad, Editor in Chief of the Syria Tribune told RT.