As Syria’s War Shifts, So Do Rebel Alliances

AP Photo
The Associated Press

The Wall Street Journal reports:

KHIRBA AL-BAQAR, Syria—In a farmhouse surrounded by wheat fields some 45 miles north of Raqqa, a frustrated rebel commander bides his time, his battle plans on hold as apartial cease-fire in Syria’s five-year war officially begins Saturday.

Abdulfatah al-Shahab once battled Syrian Kurdish fighters. Then he and his rebel group briefly pledged allegiance to Nusra Front, an Islamist militant group with ties to al Qaeda.

When the tides of Syria’s war shifted again, they joined a U.S.-backed rebel coalition alongside the Kurdish militia they once fought.

It was the only way he saw to achieve his goal: retaking control of Raqqa, Islamic State’s de facto capital in Syria.

“We had no choice. Behind us are the Kurds and in front of us is ISIS,” Mr. al-Shahab said recently. “We have no other outlet.”

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