Ariel Cohen: Syria now is battle field between extremists

Arab World Materials 3 October 2012 11:15 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 3 / Trend A.Badalova /

There is a great confrontation in Syria now and the country is essentially a battle field between the extremists, leading expert of the Heritage Foundation for Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy and member of Trend Expert Council, Ariel Cohen believes.

"It is essentially a battle field between extremist Shia elements coming from Hezbollah in Lebanon and from Iran... and some of the radical Islamists Sunni forces, such as al-Qaeda Salafies, who trickle in to Syria from Iraq, from the Gulf, from Egypt and etc.," Cohen said in interview with Trend.

"So it is a battle ground between the extremists on both sides. And it is a tragedy, because a lot of people get killed as a result," he added.

Cohen said that the majority of population of Syria are Sunni, which feel that they were discriminated, and they are fighting the Assad regime now.

"The regime is using heavy weapons including airplanes, including artillery against their own people. I just do not see how that regime can win militarily against their own people," Cohen said.

According to Cohen, there is also even a greater confrontation in Syria between China and Russia on one hand and the US and Western Europe on the other hand.

Cohen believes that in the end unfortunately this bloodshed will lead to more and more radicalization.

Anti-government protests have continued in Syria for a year and half.

According to UN, the total number of victims of the conflict in Syria is nearing 20,000.
More than 230,000 have become refugees with around three million in need of humanitarian assistance. The Syrian authorities say they oppose the well-armed militants.