CDS Condemns US-Led Coalition's Failure to Coordinate with Moderate Syrian Opposition

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On September 10th, 2014 President Barack Obama, remarking on his strategy to combat IS, told the world, "we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL." CDS demands that in combating the threat of IS, the President must uphold his commitments to the Opposition, and clarify exactly who, in addition to IS, is in the United States crosshairs.

If the President is serious about combating the threat of IS, he must make good on his commitments to the Opposition, and clarify exactly who, in addition to IS, is in the United States crosshairs.

On September 10th, 2014 President Barack Obama, remarking on his strategy to combat IS, told the world, "we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL." Since that speech, intense bombing campaigns have begun in Syria, including raids on various non-IS targets. The Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS) contends that no coordination has taken place between the U.S. government and the moderate Opposition forces on the ground. CDS further demands that in combating the threat of IS, the President must make uphold his commitments to the Opposition, and clarify exactly who, in addition to IS, is in the United States crosshairs.

Read: Statement by the President on ISIL

On Thursday September 25th, CDS, a coalition representing over 100,000 Syrian Americans, participated in meetings in Antakya with two representatives of the United States Congress and over 20 commanders of moderate rebel battalions inside Syria. The commanders unanimously thanked the legislators for the meeting, but also expressed extreme dismay that attacks were not coordinated directly with the US's supposed ally in the fight against IS. Commanders contended that coordination would allow for on-the-ground intelligence to mitigate civilian deaths, while also maximizing the potential for moderates to retake land currently held by IS.

"The President sold a plan that had two essential components: air strikes against IS, and the empowerment of moderate rebels already engaged in the fight against foreign terrorism," said CDS Government Relations Chair Muna Jondy. "Not informing our theoretical allies of attacks not only weakens their potential effectiveness, but calls into question the actual motives behind the President's policy."

Read: Syrians say civilians killed in U.S. airstrikes [LA Times]

Since US led air strikes began in Syria, international media have reported a variety of civilian deaths including several children. Further, FSA commanders meeting with legislators in Antakya on Thursday confirmed that Coalition strikes had hit areas held by the very moderate rebels highlighted by the president as potential allies.

Contact Information:
Tyler Jess Thompson
Policy Director, United for a Free Syria
732-766-1072
tthompson(at)unitedfreesyria(dot)org

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Tyler Thompson
United for a Free Syria
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