My primary access to information in the English language, other than New Trend, is from youtube videos forwarded by Syrian Americans of live war footage as well as Arabic news shows that have subtitles or at least give a summary of what is going on in the video. So I lack military knowledge, but I have grown up around the Arabs of Michigan.
My intuitive analysis is that the mainstream attitude of Syrian-American youth is represented by support for the Free Syrian Army. Al-Nusra's approach to politics represents the mainstream point of view of the Sunni religious conservative elders. ISIS represents or draws from the glorious End Times Prophecies, including the Return of Jesus (pbuh), that are described in some Islamic hadith and are very often quoted by South Asians. Some Muslims base a large part of their faith upon these prophecies while others view these hadith as weak and suspect that they were planted by the British Illuminati. Either way, these hadith are very important to understanding why people would leave their homes to go fight for an Islamic State as opposed to mere political freedom for the Syrians.
About one month ago, American journalist Bilal Abdul Kareem interviewed Shaykh Abu Firas [ YouTube.com/watch?v=0RIsR9LXiWU ] , member of Jabha Nusra's Majlis Ashura, regarding his group's stance concerning ISIS
Abu Firas stated that ISIS offered to join forces with al-Nusra, which is often called an offshoot of al-Qaeda. The US State department considers them as Islamic moderates affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. The old bearded man said that they do want to establish Islam as the law of the land, that is their goal. However, al-Nusra is not comfortable with ISIS's approach, in particular their decision to declare the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as kuffar or infidels. ISIS leaders told al-Nusra that they would only be willing to work with them if al-Nusra would fight against FSA.
The Shaykh said they could not agree to this because the FSA represents the vast majority of the local Syrian militia groups, most of whom are guarding their own town. FSA is a wide spectrum of people whose common goal is to topple Assad and to defend their homeland. Some of the fighters are sincerely religious Muslims who want to establish Islam as a way of life, while other fighters have a more secular mindset. Many even have family members living in the US. Al-Nusra refused to reject the FSA as allies or to declare them kuffar. This is why the two main Islamic fighting groups are not working together.
October 7, 2015 was a historic day for the FSA. "Let today be the day that it is recorded... The Assad regime with Iranian boots, Hezbollah mercenaries, sectarian militias, and the cover of Russian aerial bombardments.... Could NOT.... advance on the Free Syrian Army in Hama's suburbs....AND....That our freedom fighters were able to destroy 26 tanks (and others).... Seize two tanks a spoils... Take some POW's.... And much more...." was the news circulating on facebook. Other accounts place the number of tanks destroyed at closer to 15.
The Orient News [ YouTube.com/watch?v=wQFJFrx6Sys ] showed very exciting footage of FSA fighters shooting rockets at advancing tanks. One shot, and the tank is completely obliterated. They didn't just topple the tank over. BOOM! The tank is gone. The marksmanship of the fighters is impressively accurate despite the apparent clumsiness of the launching apparatus, while the weapons themselves must be very advanced, to cause such total damage. This is no homemade device. I am told the rockets are supplied by Libya or UAE.
"On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin's fighter jets rocketed an ammunition storehouse, destroying artillery, armored personnel carriers and even tanks belonging to Liwa Suqour al-Jabal, or The Mountain Eagles, a U.S.-backed brigade of the Free Syrian Army," writes Michael Weiss in the Daily Beast.
A video uploaded by the brigade to YouTube shows the burning wreckage of the Russian airstrike, in Mansoura, in the western suburbs of Aleppo, as the local commander known as Abu Mohammed taunts his enemy: "Thank God, we are all fine," says Abu Mohammed. "We don't fear Russia or anyone helping the Russians. Bashar, we will remain resistant fighting you even without any ammunition or bullets. We will fight you with knives. We don't need ammunition, Allahu Akhbar."
Weiss reports also that while the Russian airplanes were targeting Suqour al-Jabal's weapon depots in Aleppo and ISIS attacked the bases with explosives at the same time.
"In the last week, less than 10 percent of all Russian missiles (and now ship-borne cruise missiles) have struck ISIS or al-Qaeda-affiliated targets, according to the U.S. State Department. What is a consensus view among analysts is that ISIS clearly is not Putin's quarry in Syria, at least not yet, because he's too busy killing the anti-Assad rebels supported and armed by the Central Intelligence Agency. U.S. officials have acknowledged as much."
Further complicating things, Russian propaganda is stating that they are bombing ISIS targets when in fact they are bombing areas that are held by FSA. On October 5, 2015 Bilal Abdul Kareem reported [ YouTube.com/watch?v=tXy5vkPKw9g ] on site very close to the Turkish border. His interviewee, a fighter for FSA, said the Russian planes trespassed over Turkish airspace, flying over from the Turkish side before bombing.
Due to smart phones, the front lines of war are being filmed in action and watched online. Lighter videos involve fighters showing off their weapons and their prowess. The darkest documentaries show piles of dead children and total desolation. It remains to be seen if our ability to literally watch a war as it unfolds on the ground will result in anything but personal horror, or if there will be some ability for people to influence events due to their ability to communicate directly with the people involved in wars.
[New Trend comment: Daily Beast is a known anti-Islam publication. The editor of New Trend was subjected to slanderous attacks by the Daily Beast. The attacks were then picked up by all the Zionist media from the New York Times to the Washington Post. Secondly, the claim that some hadith were planted by the "British illuminati" is simply too ridiculous to require a response. Thirdly:The viewpoint of al-Nusra would be acceptable if ISIS' viewpoint were placed next to it. ISIS has set up a Caliphate and the debate should be within that context. Fourthly the FSA's viewpoint that the war is for secularist values must be rejected. Perhaps the conflict originally began for democracy and justice but Bashar Assad drowned the unarmed protests in blood and torture. It is now Jihad all the way. The Islamic resistance is the key to the struggle against Assad.]