Syrian Rebels: “Somali-like bandit groups that use the cover of Islam”
Italian journalist Domenico Quirico, who was freed on Sunday after being held hostage by Syrian rebel groups for five months, has condemned the rebel Farouk Brigades as being no more than bandits.
Writing in his own paper, La Stampa, Quirico said that the group, which was among those that held him, was trusted by the West but “represents a new and alarming phenomenon in this revolution – the emergence of Somali-like bandit groups that use the cover of Islam and the revolution to control territory, extort from locals, kidnap and enrich themselves.”
After being passed around various groups and subjected to two mock executions, Quirico said the only group, which shared its food and treated him ‘like a human being’ was Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate that has been designated a terrorist group by the UK.
“For their enemies they have a sense of honour and respect,” he wrote.
Quirico has played down reports by Pierre Piccinin, the Belgian who was held hostage with him, that they overheard their captors saying the rebels used chemical weapons, not Assad. Quirico has said he could not say if the conversation they overheard was proof of anything.
11.52 The Telegraph’s Con Coughlin writes that Russia’s plan to disarm Syria is a massive red herring:
You can tell by the way the Obama administration is falling over itself to accept Moscow’s plan to neutralise Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile that it is doomed to failure.
Having set his arbitrary red lines for military intervention in Syria’s civil war – namely the use of banned weapons by the Assad regime – the American president now finds himself in a desperate scramble to avoid following through on his commitment. As a result, no one at the White House is prepared to give Moscow’s offer the sober assessment it deserves and expose it as an utterly futile gesture.