BEIRUT, Lebanon — Al-Qaida-linked gunmen killed a rebel commander in northwestern Syria, an activist group and an opposition spokeswoman said today, in a sign of increased tensions and infighting among groups battling the Damascus regime.
The incident came as Syria’s main opposition bloc complained that “elements in the U.S. Congress” are obstructing the Obama administration’s efforts to step up support for the rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad’s regime from power.
Washington has been reluctant to arm the rebels battling Assad’s troops because radical Islamic groups, including some with al-Qaida links, have emerged as their most effective fighting force. Western countries have also been concerned over the lack of unified command among rebel groups.
In a statement late Thursday, the Syrian Coalition said it will ensure “that arms will not reach extremist elements.”