As U.S. diplomats call for Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad to step down, rebel forces in Syria with ties to Al Qaeda have stepped up their assault on Assad's regime, according to BBC, The Guardian and other sources.
Last week, The Guardian reported that UK Foreign minister William Hague acknowledged the resurgence of Al Qaeda fighters amongst the Syrian rebellion. "We… have reason to believe that terrorist groups affiliated to Al Qaeda have committed attacks designed to exacerbate the violence, with serious implications for international security," he said in a speech to the House of Commons.
"It is one of the small ironies of the Syrian uprising that the US and Al Qaeda are on the same side here," BBC journalist Paul Wood noted in a video report on location in Syria.
BBC also reported that UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon blamed Al Qaeda for the May bombings in Damascus that kiled 55 people and wounded hundreds.
UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous echoed these statements, telling RTT News that "We know that there are... a third party, terrorist groups, who are trying to gain advantage for themselves" in Syria.
These latest developments came as Abu Yahya al-Libi, Al Qaeda's second in command, called for a "violent jihad" to overthrow Assad. The rebellion is also a hot topic on online jihadist forums, ABC News reports.
Despite the confirmed existence of Al Qaeda among the insurgent groups, some U.S. political leaders are demanding that military aid be provided to them. Senator John McCain called the lack of U.S. armed support to the rebels "shameful" in an interview on NBC's Meet the Press last Sunday.
What McCain failed to mention was that, according to Bloomberg, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton previously stated that the U.S. is providing communications equipment to Syrian opposition forces. Thus, the same group that has been blamed for the horrific 9/11 attacks may already be a direct beneficiary of American foreign policy in the Middle East.