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The civil war within the Syrian civil war

Syrian rebels from the Free Syria Army (FSA) faction say that the assassination of one of their top commanders by “Islamic State,” an al-Qaida-linked militant group, amounts to a declaration of war. The FSA, which is the Western-backed rebel faction, vowed to “wipe the floor” with the Islamist faction.

For its part, Islamic State released one of the men captured along with the FSA commander so he could relay the message that it deems the FSA heretics and the Supreme Command a target.

Thus, it appears that the rebel factions will be fighting a two-front war — the war against Assad/Hezbollah, which hasn’t been going well, and the war among themselves.

Events seem to be trending against the FSA. According to Reuters, some frustrated FSA fighters say they have joined Islamist groups. And Congress is holding up plans to arm the FSA because of fears that doing so will not be decisive and the arms might end up in the hands of Islamist militants.

These fears are not unfounded. Reuters reports that moderate and hardline fighters sometimes buy and sell weapons from each other.

If the Obama administration was going to arm the FSA faction, it should have done so much earlier, before the Islamist faction, aided by the influx of foreign fighters, became “the strong horse.”

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