Syrian rebel from Canada says opposition splits delayed Assad’s downfall


A Syrian-born Canadian woman who left Toronto to join the Syrian Free Army (FSA) battling to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has criticized the opposition groups for their internal disputes she said have delayed the downfall of the regime.

Thwaiba Kanafani, 41, an engineer and a mother of two, left Canada to enlist in the FSA at the end of June. She announced her arrival to Syria in a video recently circulated on the internet. She told that she has been working in Ankaram coordinating between leaders of the armed opposition.

Before travelling to Syria, Kanafani said she attended several meetings by opposition groups in Egypt and Turkey and saw how they were divided over positions and shares of a Syrian cake that is yet to be ripe.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian uprising in early 2011, Kanafani said she has been following developments in her country and her decision to travel there was motivated by a desire to understand the complexities of the crisis and the reasons why Assad was still holding to power.

Kanafani said she was warmly greeted by members of the Syrian Free Army after she crossed the barbed wire fences on the border with Turkey.

She told that armed opposition groups were in control of most of Syria’s northern region but that they were suffering from the lack of armament and military hardware and internal divisions as well.

Globe and Mail reported on July 13 that Kanafani had been “expelled” from the group because of suspicions she might be working for Israel or the Assad’s regime.

“I left them,” Kanafani said. “I am not working with them anymore because they say I am an Israeli spy.”

She explained that she only resigned from post as communications co-coordinator with FSA but she was still in an active member with the army.

Some news reports had suggested that Kanafani was working in Canada for an advocacy group supporting a peaceful Palestinian-Israeli conflict.