Syria’s new rebel alliance wants ‘Islamic state’ in place of regime


A newly formed rebel alliance said Tuesday it wants to replace Syria’s regime with an “Islamic state,” but insisted it would protect minorities and not create an “oppressive, authoritarian system.”

The Islamic Front, Syria’s largest armed opposition grouping, with tens of thousands of fighters battling to oust President Bashar Assad, spelled out its intention to play a role in politics and society as well as on the battlefield.

But the authors of the document did not provide a clear vision of a post-Assad Syria, perhaps fearing that delving into details would splinter the alliance of seven key Islamist groups announced on Friday that hopes to unify the fractured opposition.

Under the subheading “democracies and parliaments,” the Islamic Front says representative government “is based on the notion that the people have the right through institutions to (determine) legislation, whereas in Islam God is the sovereign.”

But it adds: “This does not mean that we want an oppressive, authoritarian system,” saying Syria should be ruled through a Shura, or Islamic consultative council.

While hard-line jihadists such as al-Qaida reject democracy outright, moderate Islamists have long argued that democracy and religion are compatible as long as Islamic law is respected.