September 26, 2014
CONTACT: Chad Brand
(202) 429-2099

Washington DC - On September 10th, 2014 President Barack Obama, remarking on his strategy to combat IS, told the world, "we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL." Since that speech, intense bombing campaigns have begun in Syria, including raids on various non-IS targets, with absolutely no coordination with moderate Opposition forces on the ground. If the President is serious about combating the threat of IS, he must make good on his commitments to the Opposition, and clarify exactly who, in addition to IS, is in the United States crosshairs.

On Thursday September 25th, the Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS), a coalition representing over 100,000 Syrian Americans, participated in meetings in Antakya with two representatives of the United States Congress and over 20 commanders of moderate rebel battalions inside Syria. The commanders unanimously thanked the legislators for the meeting, but also expressed extreme dismay that attacks were not coordinated directly with the US's supposed ally in the fight against IS. Commanders contended that coordination would allow for on-the-ground intelligence to mitigate civilian deaths, while also maximizing the potential for moderates to retake land currently held by IS.

"The President sold a plan that had two essential components: air strikes against IS, and the empowerment of moderate rebels already engaged in the fight against foreign terrorism," said CDS Government Relations Chair Muna Jondy. "Not informing our theoretical allies of attacks not only weakens their potential effectiveness, but calls into question the actual motives behind the President's policy."

Since US led air strikes began in Syria, international media have reported a variety of civilian deaths including several children. Further, FSA commanders meeting with legislators in Antakya on Thursday confirmed that Coalition strikes had hit areas held by the very moderate rebels highlighted by the president as potential allies.


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About the Coalition for a Democratic Syria


The Coalition for a Democratic Syria is a group of Syrian-American non-profit organizations working together to bring about a swift end to the conflict and support the establishment of peace, freedom, and democracy in Syria. The CDS is a multi-ethnic, multi-confessional, non-partisan organization. The CDS includes: Syrian Emergency Task Force, United for Free Syria, Syrian American Council, Syrian Christians for Peace, and the Association of Free Syrians.   


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