They are veteran Syrian rebels who for years tried to bring down President Bashar Assad. These days they’re doing little fighting with his forces as they struggle to find a place in Syria’s bewildering battlefield, where several wars are being waged at once.

Battered by defeats and divisions, the rebels reel around trying to find allies they can trust as international powers look after their own alliances and agendas.

Their options are limited � one is to line up behind Turkey, which is recruiting groups to fight its own war in Syria, primarily against Syrian Kurds but also Islamic State militants.

Another option is to ally with al-Qaida’s affiliate, the strongest opposition faction. Despite differences with Washington, all of them hope for support from the United States. But they feel it has abandoned them, throwing its weight behind the Syrian Kurds.

The Associated Press spoke to several veteran rebels who move between Syria and Turkey and found them desperate for resources and support but intent on fighting for years to come.

They are veteran Syrian rebels who for years tried to bring down President Bashar Assad. These days they’re doing little fighting with his forces as they struggle to find a place in Syria’s bewildering battlefield, where several wars are being waged at once.

Battered by defeats and divisions, the rebels reel around trying to find allies they can trust as international powers look after their own alliances and agendas.

Their options are limited � one is to line up behind Turkey, which is recruiting groups to fight its own war in Syria, primarily against Syrian Kurds but also Islamic State militants.

Another option is to ally with al-Qaida’s affiliate, the strongest opposition faction. Despite differences with Washington, all of them hope for support from the United States. But they feel it has abandoned them, throwing its weight behind the Syrian Kurds.

The Associated Press spoke to several veteran rebels who move between Syria and Turkey and found them desperate for resources and support but intent on fighting for years to come.

The al-Qaida hunter

Lt. Col. Ahmed al-Saoud drives around the Turkish seaside city of Iskenderun with another car of Syrian bodyguards and aides behind him.

He has been living almost permanently in Turkey since al-Qaida’s affiliate attacked him and his group, the U.S.-backed Division 13, in Syria last year. When he tried to return home in April, an ambush was waiting for him. He survived, but one of his commanders was killed.

A defector from Assad’s military, al-Saoud has received Western aid from the start. His fight against the extremists, who tried to gain a foothold in his Idlib hometown of Maaret Numan has been relentless.

But he feels let down now that the U.S. is throwing its weight behind Syrian Kurdish militias.

We can’t be temporary allies for a certain stage and then they drop or back me as they please, al-Saoud said.

He fears U.S. support will only deepen the Kurds’ determination for self-rule, leading to the division of Syria, in the process boosting support among Sunni Arabs for al-Qaida.

During a recent AP visit to his home in Turkey, al-Saoud was constantly on the phone with his commanders back home.

Al-Saoud also has joined the Northern Front Operation Room. But he is skeptical of its Islamist leadership which would minimize the role of more secular groups like his; and also deny him direct contacts with the Americans.

My aim is a Syria free of Assad and of terrorism, he said.

Source: Voice of America

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They are veteran Syrian rebels who for years tried to bring down President Bashar Assad. These days they're doing little fighting with his forces as they struggle to find a place in Syria's bewildering battlefield, where several wars are being waged at once.Battered by defeats and divisions, the rebels...