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Turning off the tap for Syrian rebels

January 3rd, 2013
06:33 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Increasing concerns about the long-term aims of certain Syrian opposition forces may now be leading the international community to “turn off the tap for the rebels.”

That is according to NPR Foreign Correspondent Deborah Amos, who has just returned from five-weeks of reporting in and out of Northern Syria.

“I think what is happening is there is some sort of arrangement so that [the rebels] don’t exactly win the war, but they push the regime enough to make them talk,” she told CNN’s Fionnuala Sweeney.

The West is concerned about rebel groups like al-Nusra, which the U.S. branded a terrorist organization last month. But most analysts say that al-Nusra is among the best fighting forces trying to overthrow the regime.

U.N.: Syria death toll jumps

The prevailing notion among many Syrians is that they would “sleep with the devil to get rid of Bashar al-Assad,” Amos said.

There are signs that the Syrian regime may be open to some sort of settlement.

In an interview with a Lebanese newspaper last month, Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa called for a “historic settlement” of the civil war and a unity government.

“There is some movement in the regime,” Amos said. “Is it enough to get a deal? Not very clear.”

What is clear is that neither side of the brutal civil war is making much headway.

“The regime strategy all along has been to test the international community,” Amos said. “Is it okay ten a day? Is it okay to kill a hundred a day?”

The United Nations now estimates that at least 60,000 people have died in the conflict.

To many Syrians, Amos said, there is disbelief about the international community’s inaction. Why, they ask, is it verboten for the government to use chemical weapons but okay for it to kill 100 people waiting in line for bread, as happened just over a week ago?

“There are no rules at all.” Amos said. “At least in Iraq, we knew where to be. I now am looking at towns being bombed in places I was two weeks ago, which I thought was safe on the day that I crossed that border. I often realize that there are no safe places in Syria.”

No happy new year for Syria refugees

CNN’s Juliet Fuisz produced this piece for television.

Filed under:  Latest Episode • Syria
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. sjdsh

    ha ha ha told ya

    January 3, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Reply
    • jeka

      cnn does not say why? the fact that the Turkish pilots wanted to take military aircraft Syria, and to bomb the Turkish territory, for war
      why do not they say? as a free army suits demonstration penalty to the civilian population, and they then flee the country

      January 4, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  2. jimmy lim

    Sorry sidetracking, Obama pls give a medal/honor to Johnny mathis for his contribution to music. A most gifted n classy singer

    January 3, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Reply
  3. jimmy lim

    The Syrians must sort it themselves. No foreign intervention otherwise "Damn if u do n damn if u dont" esp US. Its the curse of Islam n it is blatantly happening all over the middle east

    January 4, 2013 at 2:33 am | Reply
    • jeka

      why can not I add a link to a video, which shows the locals buy grenades to explode, but not fall into the hands rebel army, and many of which will never see on the English TV

      January 4, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Reply
  4. jerry wallace

    The US was brave in the past, now that they are beaten in their wars and hated everywhere, the US is a chicken and spineless, they don't even have the courage to say that they with Assad against his people and that the killings are the nature of the US citizens, they did it to the Indians.

    January 4, 2013 at 5:10 am | Reply
    • Flatty

      Why blame America ? I'm sick of US being blamed for everything. They did not start this war and exactly because of people like you who blame the US for everything, they do not want to get involved with ground troops.

      January 4, 2013 at 10:32 am | Reply
      • Sam

        Why people blame US? so simple ask the US government why they have CIA at the borders of Syria with Turkey and Jordan to prevent any help from reaching the Syrian people and why US help the regime by preventing any real action against it. If you believe that only Russia and Iran are protecting the Syrian regime you are very naive the main dictator's protector is AMERICA it is OBAMA who protects assad.

        January 4, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • adamdocherty

      I can't understand you... maybe you should get some english lessons?

      January 4, 2013 at 10:40 am | Reply
      • jeka

        maybe you learned Syriac, if you decide to kill the Syrians

        January 4, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • jeka

      cnn does not say why? the fact that the Turkish pilots wanted to take military aircraft Syria, and to bomb the Turkish territory, for war
      why do not they say? as a free army suits demonstration penalty to the civilian population, and they then flee the country

      January 4, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Reply
  5. akud

    NATO. does not protect Syrians. and protect the Kurds not to raise their homeland

    January 4, 2013 at 6:08 am | Reply
  6. Roland

    Then why give weapons to Saudi Arabia they are the ones funding/arming the Mujahideens in Syria.Saudi clerics are handing out rape fatwas as well.

    January 4, 2013 at 6:40 am | Reply
  7. Mason

    It is clear that the whole world is turning a blind eye on what is happening to the Syrian people. The international community is partly responsible for the rise in Salafi Jihadists groups by sitting on the fence while watching the barbaric and criminal Assad regime killing hundreds of Syrian civilians day after day and do nothing. The West will come crying tomorrow that the most popular resistance in Syria is Al Nusrah front if this regime is not put to an end ASAP. Asaad regime will be defeated by the Syrian people with the west's help or without. It is up to the international community to be perceived by the Syrian people as a friend or a foe.

    January 4, 2013 at 6:46 am | Reply
    • adamdocherty

      As a member of "the international community"; I don't care how the Syrian people perceive me.

      January 4, 2013 at 10:37 am | Reply
    • jeka

      cnn does not say why? the fact that the Turkish pilots wanted to take military aircraft Syria, and to bomb the Turkish territory, for war
      why do not they say? as a free army suits demonstration penalty to the civilian population, and they then flee the country

      January 4, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Reply
    • chicken shack

      ask me if anyone gives a s h * t. Go on...ask me.

      January 4, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Reply
  8. leon

    The only one to profit from this war is ,as so often, Israel, and one must wonder, when will the american people realize that guess is; much too late.

    January 4, 2013 at 7:40 am | Reply
    • kandiah balamurali

      america, israel nothing to do with this war, Arab countries could no stand with Iran?? Iran wants destroy all Syrians and save his beloved ASSAD

      January 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Reply
  9. Bushdiver

    Basically, one side isn't better than the other side so who really cares who wins. Let them fast and the last man standing wins, finished.

    January 4, 2013 at 8:20 am | Reply
  10. Joe

    Most analysts meant say that al-Nusra is among the *most effective* fighting forces trying to overthrow the regime. "Best" hardly applies to their rules of engagement.

    January 4, 2013 at 10:08 am | Reply
  11. akud

    NATO. does not protect Syrians. and protect the Kurds not to raise their homeland.

    January 4, 2013 at 10:09 am | Reply
    • AndyinOz

      I believe it is "raze to the ground". But certainly NATO should have seen this coming.

      January 4, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Reply
  12. freedomdem


    January 4, 2013 at 11:19 am | Reply
    • chicken shack

      I believe that the 'opposition (terrorist jihadists)' is killing as many as the legitimate government, probably many more. We learned from Libya just how much honor the opposition has – just as bad as the existing government. Fight it out, last man standing wins.

      January 4, 2013 at 10:32 pm | Reply
  13. Gazza

    The safe places to be in Syria are where there are no terrorists. And it's about time the West woke up and supported the Syrian government restore order and peace.

    January 4, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Reply
    • kandiah balamurali


      January 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Reply
    • chicken shack

      The Syrian government (and it's sponsor Iran) has supported terrorism from day one. Reap what you sew.

      January 4, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Reply
  14. kandiah balamurali


    January 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  15. chegevara

    what s hapenng n syria s a big failure 4 humanity....regardless who s to blame assad's regim or the revolutionists ,, civilised america and western europe should stop the ongoing slaughter.....

    January 4, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  16. chegevara

    united states as the supper power murally has duty to lead the free world to put an immediate end to the ongoing slaughter in syria and to prevent this to happen anywhere in this world...

    January 4, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Reply
    • chicken shack

      America is having a supper party? I believe the correct term is dinner party.

      January 4, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Reply
  17. Longan

    Amreeca is resbonsibeel for everyzeeng.

    January 4, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  18. Luqman olajide

    When some people started to fight there leader if d wester world like that government they will call that people terorism but if they don,t like that government they will call that people opposition why why why

    January 4, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  19. toolpusher1234

    Don't blame american, it's not their business

    January 5, 2013 at 3:19 am | Reply
  20. Sweden

    Why always arabs blaming our problems on someone else? In the past, the problem thought to be coming from the regimes, but if you read the comments posted on arab sites you agree is people problem..mentality should be changed

    January 5, 2013 at 3:59 am | Reply
  21. kudson

    US is losing the war on terror they created
    they shpuld be tried for war crimes instead of the third wotld monsters they creaated

    January 5, 2013 at 6:07 am | Reply
  22. Ramon

    In Spain the feelings against the NATO are increasing by the day. We've had enough of this international mafia. EU and NATO are the real terrorists, to build a new left against globalization, imperialism and feudal capitalism is our hope.

    January 5, 2013 at 6:11 am | Reply
  23. GT

    crazy islamists want to replace a crazy dictator, i don't want my tax money go to neither of them

    January 6, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  24. Richard

    Afghanistan, likely Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Yemen. All places the U.S. meddled in that went from relatively benign to radicalized and a threat to the West. Syria and Turkey next?

    January 6, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Reply
  25. Abdul Majed Khan

    Very Strange
    Humans blaming Human Nations for killing Human
    Where's the HUMANITY ?
    All those fighting and blaming are Believers
    I've never heard this from Adam to Abraham to Moses to Jesus to Muhammad
    May be they ain't belivers
    They are follwers of self desires 'Satan'
    The least positive thing to stop human bloodshed can still be
    Admitting ' I am wrong ' and pray
    Please finish this Goliath by a DAVID
    Don't Blame
    Don't be angry
    Help them
    What ever, Who so ever can, using his contacts

    First time I read news comments
    and felt Sorry
    Forgive me if I was Harsh

    January 6, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  26. Tachman

    No wonder the world is leaving the Syrians to their own luck.
    The Free Syrian Army is nothing but a rag tag collection of close minded individuals with very different goals for the country.
    Must want it to become a backwards sharia law ridden country that would become the next Taliban era Afghanistan while others seek to split the country between the sects.
    Many Suni have already bowed to kill Alawites regardless of their alligiance and even teach their children to seek this as well.
    And whatever governement that comes from them will take vengeance against secularists, former Assad regime supporters and christians.
    This civil war is ugly but it's just truly beggining and when Assad finally falls or flees then every sect in there witll turn their guns on one another in a sad copy of the Balcan wars.

    January 6, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Reply
  27. Saratov

    There are Syrians that are not able to get along to each other, and now they are killing each other. The foreign factor is enormous but not decisive. The fact that Assad propaganda creates phantom paramilitary forces, never involved in actions, and the so called government army is not able to control their's equipments, tanks, military airfields, fighter jets indictates that the days uf the government in power are numbered. Soon Syria will be under a new order similar with, Irak, Lybia, Afganistan and will prove to the world that Syrians are a bunch of ignorants and nuts.

    February 14, 2013 at 10:32 am | Reply
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