As airstrikes began against ISIS targets in Syria, Hadi al Bahra, President of the Syrian Opposition Coalition said:
“Tonight, the international community has joined our fight against ISIS in Syria. We have called for airstrikes such as those that commenced tonight with a heavy heart and deep concern, as these strikes begin in our own homeland. We insist that utmost care is taken to avoid civilian casualties. Our people have been suffering at the hands of ISIS for over a year. And they endured unparalleled brutality from the Assad regime for three and a half years. Our forces on the ground – the Free Syrian Army – have fought both sources of terror with very little help. We have had some success – in Idlib, in Aleppo, in suburban Damascus. But no army can sustain a fight on two fronts without support.
"Strikes alone cannot defeat extremism for good. We will be implementing an accelerated train and equip program with our partners to ensure the military fight takes place on the ground, and to ensure that there is no need for US or foreign boots on the ground. We will also continue to battle the root cause of the extremism we face – the Assad regime that has actively encouraged extremism and created the conditions for it to flourish. We are calling on all our partners to maintain pressure on the Assad regime. This war cannot be won by military means alone. It requires a comprehensive strategy with political, economic, and social components – a process that may be supported by the international community, but must be led and implemented by Syrians. The long-term solution is moderate, inclusive Syrian governance that prevents the resurgence of extremism. Only the Syrian Opposition Coalition can achieve the goals that will defeat this threat.
"ISIS is a global threat that requires an international solution. To be effective, that solution will have at its heart those who are already fighting on the frontlines – the Syrian Opposition Coalition, the Free Syrian Army, and the people of Syria.”