“…The Jihadist show of force coupled with the absence of the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition, the main grouping of the political opposition, could consolidate an Islamist sweep in the north and east of the country. But the experience of Raqqa, where there have been demonstrations and strikes, shows that Islamist rule has got off to a difficult start.The east, which accounts for all of Syria’s oil output and most of its grain production, borders Iraq’s Sunni Muslim heartland, where Sunni Jihadists opposed to the Iranian-backed Shi’ite government in Baghdad are also active.
Since falling, Raqqa has been in effect run by Ahrar al-Sham, one of the best organized of hundreds of opposition formations fighting to oust Assad, and its Islamist allies, opposition campaigners in the area said.
They said the al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front has a strong presence in the city and cooperates with Ahrar. The Iraqi wing of al Qaeda announced on Tuesday that Nusra was now its Syrian branch and the two groups would operate under one name — the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant…., … ,… A European diplomat said channeling aid to emerging local structures was more effective than what the grandiose plans of the provisional government.
“You have to start small. …”