Doesn’t surprise me at all, they are somewhat limited to what type of leadership they can rally around. They are, to a growing degree, trying to lead and create cohesion by using symbolic leadership and are thus using religion. Using religion opens up the possibility to interlink Friday prayers with mass demonstrations the Assad regime isn’t strong enough to shut down the mosques. The religious aspect is a powerful tool and seeing that their possibility of outside help is diminishing by every passing minute there is no real incentive to curb it in the same manner as was done in say Libya. This is also what gives them their strength. The Assad troops notably don’t shout anything and that is the point they don’t hold the religious high ground in this conflict and that still has some bearing with the general population in the Arab world.
This also presents the west with a problem. You could get involved and get a possibility to limit the Islamic aspect of the rebellion as was done in previous “spring revolutions” or you can stay on the bench and watch other organizations take a greater peace of the cake. Then the history books wont write this up as a democratic revolution in the middle east but instead the second coming of the Islamic wave here to save the Arab people from their western backed dictators. We all know this isn’t true but the winner writes history…
Well that's fvcked up. I mean, I'd expect it..but damn. How do you shell your own population and sleep at night?
What population? That place is a warzone, there aren't any civilians left and buildings are used as fighting positions, as cover, as high-points ("hills"), as bunkers, as firing positions... Just because the army shoots at what looks like a civil building doesn't mean that it actually still serves the function of civilian housing and is not actually used by rebels as a machine gun/rpg/attack position. It's called urban combat.
Seems to me that the rebels fighting whether they are FSA or other groups are far more disciplined than their counterparts in Libya- I assume this shows that indeed a higher proportion are indeed from the Army. There is a lot less "beruit unload" style shooting and they look a lot less reckless.