Going back to Syria's revolutionary days

Going back to Syria's revolutionary days
3 min read
17 March, 2015
Analysis: A new armed group in Syria has announced its fighters will stick to the "original principles" of the Syrian revolution and protect civilian lives.
Syria's new rebel outfit say they will avoid fighting in civilian areas [Anadolu]
Representatives of around 13,000 Syrian armed rebels have announced they have formed a new opposition group that will be guided by the "original principles" of the Syrian revolution.

The objective remains the same as it ever has been – to bring down the regime of Bashar al-Assad – but the Protectors of the Revolution brigade say they will be independent of foreign influence and maintain strict discipline, including avoiding fighting in civilian areas.

Most who have joined include Free Syrian Army brigades in southern Idlib countryside and northern Hama and Latakia provinces.

The new formation maintains it will not be affiliated with any international, regional or local party, and will not "interfere in civilians' lives".

"The Protectors of the Revolution is one of the Free Syrian Army factions operating on the ground since 2012 but its activity was ceased because of limited capacities," says Maan Qintar, head of the political committee for the group.

"Recently, a number of factions and battalions and influential figures joined hands to re-establish the group in northern and eastern Hama countryside, Idlib countryside and Latakia countryside."

He says that the thousands of fighters who have joined the group have good reputations and have not engaged in "secondary fighting" - two conditions for any candidate.
     We do not want to interfere in people's lives and we do not allow our elements to hold weapons while they are among the civilians
- Maan Qintar 

Political guidance

Qintar said that the group had formed a political committee for decision-making and a military council that works under it.

The lack of clear ideological guidance or political instruction were factors in why so many rebel groups have been unsuccessful in the war of Syria, he said.

The group said it will cooperate with all parties that are committed to the "Syrian people's revolution" and want to bring down the Assad regime.

"Our group's political committee is solely tasked with sketching the policy and making strategic decisions," said Qintar.

"The military council acts as the executive power for this committee."

The new armed group has an arsenal of medium to light weapons, and will really on looting weapons from the regime.

Protecting civilians

This was a similar principle of the fledgling Free Syrian Army, when the revolution in Syria began in 2011.

"The Protectors of the Revolution adopts the principles raised at the beginning of the revolution and seeks to raise one flag in all regions. We do not want to interfere in people's lives and we do not allow our elements to hold weapons while they are among the civilians," said Qintar.

"The group is preparing its bylaws and setting an organisational bureau as well as an armaments bureau. An audit office is also being established to oversee all other departments."

The Protectors of the Revolution announced its formation in regions controlled by the Nusra Front and the Ahrar al-Sham movement.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.