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US Air Strikes Add to Syria’s Woes

CAIRO – As the US-led forces continue their airstrikes on the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria, the exodus of Syrians to Turkey has increased amid fighters’ advance to Kurdish area.

“People don’t know what’s going on,” Ahmad Al-Jader, a former Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighter from Jarabulus, told The Independent.

“A lot of them want to get rid of Isis, but not this way because they know what the US is here for and it’s not to get rid of the regime,” he added, using another acronym for the militant group.

The ISIL attacks coupled with the US-led air strikes have forced more than 150,00 Syrians to flee their country into Turkey.

Two weeks ago, a group of nations, including 10 Arab states, have agreed to form a coalition to tackle ISIL.

The US-led coalition was not welcomed by many Syrians, Iraqis and Arabs who condemned the international intervention in the Muslim country.

Suffering over the past three years, millions of ordinary Syrians have lost their homes and livelihoods through the civil unrest taking place in the country.

At least 171,509 have been killed since the start of the Syrian conflict, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced last month.

The UK based network, said that the toll included 85,020 civilians, 9,092 children and 5,873 women.

SOHR stated that at least 27,746 of rebel fighters were killed, among them more than 19,000 civilian who joined the armed opposition to fight Assad.

Earlier this month, prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi has announced his opposition to the US-led coalition against the group, adding that America is only moved by its interests.

Fighters of the FSA have vehemently rejected the international raids against ISIL unless in targets Assad troops too.

“Our rebel fighters will not accept to continue to fight Isis just to lose most of our strength so the regime can come and finish them off,” said Abu Mohammad, head of the political office for Aleppo-based opposition armed group, Jaysh al-Mujahideen, using another acronym for the group.

“If the US does not target the regime, we will not fight Isis on the ground,” Mohammad added.

Targeting Oil

Overnight air strikes in Syria’s Deir al-Zor by the US-led forces hit oilfields and ISIL bases in the eastern province, halting the production small oil refineries.

“The point was to render them incapable of using these refineries, which was a significant stream of revenue for them,” Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, was quoted by the Washington Post.

According to the White House, the new target list will include Islamic State’s “leadership, logistical and operational capability,” as well as an attempt to “deny it sanctuary and resources to plan, prepare and execute attacks.

US officials have warned it will take years to destroy ISIL, and Obama told Americans: “It will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL.”

Last week, The US-led forces started targeting the militant group in northern and eastern Syria, leaving 19 killed including five civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The northern parts of Syria, where the majority Kurds live, has witnessed the exodus of about 14,000 civilians to Turkey, after the advance of ISIL to Kobani.

“The situation is very bad. After they kill people, they are burning the villages…. When they capture any village, they behead one person to make everyone else afraid,” Mazlum Bergaden, a teacher from Kobani who crossed the border on Wednesday with his family, told Reuters.

“They are trying to eradicate our culture, purge our nation.”