Syrian Rebels Disavow Western-Backed Leaders

Groups want Sharia as basis for all law
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2013 1:18 PM CDT
Syrian Rebels Disavow Western-Backed Leaders
British Foreign Secretary William Hague greets the President of the Syrian National Coalition, Ahmed Asi Al Jarba and other members of the Syrian delegation, in London, Sept. 5, 2013.   (AP Photo/Carl Court)

Some of Syria's most powerful rebel groups have disavowed the Western-backed National Syrian Coalition's government in exile, in a move that may further complicate efforts to find a diplomatic resolution to the country's civil war. Thirteen groups, spearheaded by the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, released a statement last night declaring that the newly-formed interim government "does not represent or recognize us" and urging their fellow rebels to make Sharia law "the sole source of legislation." Three of the signatories control large amounts of territory, CNN reports.

The jihadis aren't the only ones dismissing the opposition government, either. Syria's deputy foreign minister yesterday dismissed the coalition as having little influence, the New York Times reports. He further dimmed the prospect of peace talks by saying the regime wouldn't negotiate with anyone who'd taken up arms against it, though it might talk to religious leaders "who have influence on the ground." Russia, meanwhile, said a peace deal could only be reached if the US stopped calling for Bashar al-Assad's ouster, Reuters reports. (More al-Nusra Front stories.)

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