Members of the Free Syrian Army reportedly attacked the Christian-dominated al-Duvair village in Reef on the outskirts of Homs on Monday, where they massacred its citizens, including women and children, before the Syrian Army interfered.
This reported attack comes shortly after intense fighting in the city of al-Qusseir over the weekend, in which Bashar Al-Assad’s forces inflicted heavy casualties on the rebels.
Assad’s forces launched an offensive in April in an effort to cut off supply lines to the rebels by taking the city and its surrounding areas from the rebel groups that had been entrenched there since last year. Two weeks ago, the Syrian forces reached the center of the city
While the sources describing Monday’s massacre are supportive of Assad, it’s possible that it occurred since the rebel groups fighting the Assad regime are composed mainly of members of al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda affiliated groups and have committed war crimes and atrocities in the past.
Jabhat al-Nusra, the branch of al-Qaeda that fought and killed American and allied troops in Iraq, have positioned themselves in Syria and control the rebel movement.
The U.S. and other Western governments that are backing the FSA have acknowledged the presence of jihadists but insist that they’re only a small part of the rebel movement. However, al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremist groups have been at the front of the rebel movement since day one of the Syrian war that began two years ago. According to German intelligence, 95 percent of the rebels aren’t even Syrian.
“Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of,” the New York Times reported last month.
In April, Abou Mohamad al-Joulani, the head of al-Nusra, pledged allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahri, the head of al-Qaeda.
Members of the FSA have admitted that their plan is to institute sharia law, and the rebels now have a brigade named the Osama bin Laden Brigade.
Despite the evidence of al-Qaeda connections, the U.S. government continues to support the FSA.
Last week, Sens. Robert Menendez, D.-N.J., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., drafted a bill that, if passed, would directly arm the Syrian rebels with lethal weaponry. The U.S. government has so far only provided non-lethal supplies and humanitarian aid.
On Monday, Sen. John McCain made a surprise visit to Syria where he met with Gen. Salem Idris, the leader of the Supreme Military Council of the FSA. McCain has also called for arming the rebels as well as direct U.S. military intervention in the war.