Chuck Sweeny: New force could defeat ISIS, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

BURHAN OZBILICI/THE ASSOCIATED PRESSKurds from Turkey (right) and Syria break down the barbed wire Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, at the border near Suruc, Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that a “no-fly zone” should be created in Syria to protect part of it from attacks by Syria’s air force.

Moderate Syrian forces fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army have united with Syrian Christian militias with a twin goal: topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and replace him with a tolerant government; and crush the Islamic State, extremist hordes in Syria and Iraq who are destroying everyone who doesn’t kowtow to their abhorrent ways as they establish their caliphate.

And a northern Illinois congressman, Adam Kinzinger, was key to helping the mostly Sunni Free Syrian Army and Christians to hammer out the pact Thursday.

As you know, the U.S., Britain, France and five Arab states are conducting an air war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also called ISIS. But while an air war can weaken an enemy, it takes the infantry to finish the job.

President Barack Obama has ruled out using ground troops.

That’s why the Sunni-Christian alliance is crucial, says Kinzinger, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Kinzinger and committee staffers met for several hours with the Christian Syriac Military Council and the Supreme Military Council of Syria, which includes the Free Syrian Army,

They met in Antakya, Turkey, near the Syria border. Antakya is the biblical city of Antioch.

The new alliance, Kinzinger said by phone from Turkey, “may be a game changer” in that it could provide the kind of ground force that, with modern equipment, could smash ISIS and Assad.

“A lot of the Free Syrian battalions told us they felt abandoned by the Western world,” but the Republican from Channahon helped reassure them that Americans do care about their plight.

“They reiterated their commitment to democracy and freedom. The Syrian Christians are in the path of ISIS and they wanted to be part of a larger effort.”

Kinzinger said Syrian moderate rebels are “very angry with Assad and ISIS, and they definitely have the will to fight. Many have lost family members. One of the men I talked to just lost his 4-year-old daughter a week ago.”

But while they’re fierce fighters, they lack the hardware needed to do the job.

“They’re using AK-47s, rationing ammunition, they have some rocket-propelled grenades, but they don’t have the ability to call up tanks,” Kinzinger said.

Meanwhile, Assad’s helicopters are dropping crude bombs on Syrian rebels’ villages, doing great damage and killing many people.

“Assad’s troops fill 55-gallon drums with TNT and nails, and they drop them on a neighborhood and kill everybody in their path.

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