U.S. seeks to better understand Syria Islamists

WASHINGTON Wed Dec 4, 2013 5:00pm EST

1 of 2. Islamist fighters walk with their weapons during their graduation ceremony at a camp in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus November 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Diaa Al-Din

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States sees value in getting to know Islamist militias in Syria, in order to better understand their intentions in the civil war there and their possible links with al Qaeda, the top U.S. military officer said on Wednesday.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, did not say directly whether the United States is holding face-to-face talks with Islamist rebel groups. But he said Washington was still seeking to better understand the contours of the different Sunni Muslim rebel groups, some of whom purport to be affiliated with al Qaeda.

"I think it's worth knowing whether these groups have any intent whatsoever to be moderate and inclusive, or whether they ... from the start intend to be radical," Dempsey told reporters.

"So I think that finding that out, however we do so, is worth the effort."

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the United States and other countries have held direct discussions with certain Islamist groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil conflict.

Also on Wednesday, a commander of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah who fought in Syria was shot dead outside his home in Lebanon.

(Reporting Missy Ryan and Phil Stewart; editing by Jackie Frank)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (7)
QuidProQuo wrote:
There are no moderate Islamic militia fighters! WTF is this all about anyway? Looking for a way to aid them and kill off more Christians and moderate Syrian citizens? They are radicals and they are funded by radicals not much more needs to be analyzed there. If the military is too stupid to see the widespread pattern of radical evil actions going on everywhere they plant themselves, I think we need to really think about what the hell our military is really doing for the greater good of our nation let alone other nations they claim to be securing a better future for.

Dec 04, 2013 4:17pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Loucleve2 wrote:
what a moron. they KILL anyone that doesnt agree with them dipstick.

what more do you need to know?

Dec 04, 2013 4:29pm EST  --  Report as abuse
westernshame wrote:
2 1/2 years in and millions of dollars sent in support…..

and now you want to know what the islamist militias intentions are for Syria

Dec 04, 2013 6:25pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Full focus