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List of armed groups in Syria to identify them as terrorists or moderates, official says

By Mohammad Ghazal - Nov 19,2015 - Last updated at Nov 19,2015

AMMAN — Jordan is expected to classify groups in Syria into several categories depending on whether they are considered terrorists, not terrorists, or subject to debate, a government official said Wednesday.

The Kingdom recently accepted a request to take responsibility for coordinating efforts to compile a list of terror groups in Syria.

“One list will specify groups that are classified as terrorist by consensus; another will comprise groups that are classified as moderate and not involved in terrorism; and a third will include groups that are still unclassified due to differences on how to classify them,” the official told The Jordan Times.

“These lists might be used in the future to determine who will be invited to any upcoming negotiations to find a political solution to the situation in Syria,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Fayez Dwairi, a strategic analyst and retired senior military officer, said the list should incorporate Shiite groups fighting in Syria that fit the relevant profile, not just extremist Sunni groups.

“Whenever there is a classification of terror groups, the focus is always on radical Sunni Islamist groups, which worsens the situation. There are some 42 armed Shiite militant groups in Syria and the classification should also cover them,” Dwairi told The Jordan Times.

The expert said that while Jordan is capable of taking responsibility for this exercise in military and security terms, it should “avoid creating new enemies”.

“If there is a genuine will to classify terror groups in Syria, the classification should cover all relevant groups,” he said.

The military expert also called for opening channels of communication with some of the militant groups in Syria.

“Exclusion of some of the groups worsens the situation. Opening up to them... will help win them over to the side of the moderate opposition in Syria,” Dwairi noted.

Any solution to the crisis in Syria, he stressed, needs to involve the replacement of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“The armed groups fighting the Syrian regime will continue their fight if they are not genuinely involved in a political process that should include the replacement of Assad,” said the expert. 

An article published by Russia Today’s Arabic version this week said the selection of Jordan to assume this role reflects the country’s ability to safeguard its security and stability amidst a troubled region.

The article, by Samer Elias, highlighted the deep experience of the security apparatuses in Jordan, which is directly affected by crises in the region, including in Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Lebanon.

 

Jordan’s “pragmatic political stances” in dealing with regional issues and maintaining a relationship with the Syrian regime were also factors in the Kingdom’s selection, the article said, also citing Jordan’s participation in the US-led international coalition against Daesh and its lack of objection to Russian air strikes in Syria.

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