Why Syria's Devout Oppose ISIS, as Told by a Cleric That Fled Their Rule
"The Free Syrian Army and the other Islamist groups [like al-Qaeda's Jabhat al-Nusra], even when you disagree with them on some points, they understand very well that you are a Syrian, they understand the society is multicolored.
The Islamist groups, for example, they don't like smoking. They consider it a sin, but they understand very well that in this Syrian society, people smoke, so they don't want to be harsh in making people quit smoking. They believe through advice they can make you quit this bad behavior.
So where is the problem with ISIS? [Jabhat al] Nusra or the Islamists or the FSA, they believe in the idea of citizenship in Syria, they believe those people are citizens of Syria, and they have rights. The concept of Syria as a country is clear for them. Even when they say "we want an Islamic system," they are talking about an Islamic system inside Syria only.
ISIS did not understand when the Syrians started this revolution against Bashar al Assad, they did not stand up because he was an Alawite [a minority sect], but only because he was an oppressor. ISIS thinks the Syrians started the revolution because Assad was an Alawite. This is proof they do not understand the nature and culture of the Syrian people.
I participated in the revolution to get my rights and dignity, and not to be ruled by a stranger that does not know the nature of the society, or the value of citizenship. More importantly, the people who want to rule us, they are already not welcome in their own countries. If they were honest about their goals, why didn't they establish the Caliphate in their own countries?"