News

Not just 2 sides

The proverbial two sides of a conflict does not exist in Syria.

Instead, it is a conflict mired in confusion and self-interest with opportunists using the battleground to recruit radicalised individuals from around the world.

Since the unrest began in Syria in March 2011, many new jihadist groups have emerged, according to a report from defence analysis firm IHS Jane's.

The most prominent and militarily capable of these are the Jabhat al-Nusra li-ahl al-Sham, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), and the Islamic Front.

Independent jihadist groups drawing in foreign fighters are also increasing in number, and are likely to pose a threat to Syria's neighbours.

Then there are splinter groups.

Sunnis do not only wage battle with the other major Muslim denomination Shias - some Al-Qaeda-linked Sunnis are now locked in armed conflict with fellow Sunnis who have split from the terrorist organisation.

There are no winners. But the losers in the conflict are the ordinary citizens.

It is estimated that more than 2.7 million people have fled Syria.

And more than 160,000 people, including fighters on all sides of the conflict, have been killed.