UK & World News
Syria: Rebel Fighters Are Becoming Radicalised
Sky has seen new evidence that the Syrian uprising is becoming more and more radicalised and being fought by Islamic fundamentalists and extremists.
The Syrian rebels have all but given up on military intervention by the West but after 18 months of grinding battle and a feeling they have been abandoned by the international community, they are making their own bombs and weapons and becoming much more self-sufficient.
There are some weapons and arms being smuggled across the borders from sympathetic Muslim neighbours.
We saw brand new rocket propelled grenade launchers with their rockets still in their plastic wrappers which had been smuggled across the Turkish border and an anti-aircraft gun which the rebels told us had come from Iraq.
But although that means that the rebels have many more weapons than they have had before, it is still small fry in comparison to the heavy weaponry, tanks and artillery employed by the regime.
What is increasingly obvious is the number of Jihad (holy war) flags and Jihad paraphernalia worn and used by the rebel fighters. The black headbands worn by many of the fighters are a symbol of Islamic fundamentalism - used by extremist groups and usually anti-Western.
The common refrain from many of the rebel fighters is that they have been forgotten by the outside world.
A number of commanders told us they were disappointed, angry and frustrated by the lack of help from the international community.
One said: "All we get is words, not actions."
I asked him how many fighters were from outside Syria. He replied: "Most of the fighters are Syrians. I would say 90% of the fighters are Syrian. Only a few hundred in the whole of Syria are from outside the country and most of them are from sympathetic countries."
We met a Libyan medic and former rebel in his own country who said he had come to help the rebels in Syria as a fellow Muslim.
He said: "We know what it is like to suffer. I have come to help in the hospital but if I had to pick up a gun and shoot Assad soldiers, of course I would.
"The real problem here is not foreign fighters, not Al Qaeda or any other group but the regime which has done far more damage than any other group."
The rebels have been making significant gains in the north, crushing regime bases and the Assad army has been losing men as well as arms.
But the frustration by the rebels and the inaction by the international community is driving the rebels towards religious extremism.
If Assad falls, the West's lack of help may have lost them a potential ally in the Middle East and even worse, may have created an angry and resentful new enemy.