The Guardian published in its front-page in the issue of Sept. 24 a report by its correspondent from Aleppo, who spent a few days in one of the units of the Syrian armed opposition.
According to the newspaper, more and more international fighters join the rebel ranks.
"Hundreds of international fighters have flocked to Syria to join the war against Bashar al-Assad's government. Some are fresh-faced idealists driven by a romantic notion of revolution or a hatred for the Assads. Others are jihadi veterans of Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan.
Abu Omar al-Chechen gives orders in Arabic, which are translated into a babble of different languages - Chechen, Tajik, Turkish, French, Saudi dialect, Urdu.
To reach Syria, foreign fighters had to cross the border with forged passports and dodge secret services.
The frontline in Syria is easier to reach via a comfortable flight to southern Turkey and a hike across the border.
The foreign recruits are received by a Syrian who runs a training camp and organizes fighting units. Each team was assigned to an Arabic speaker and receives 10 days' basic training, the point of which was not to learn how to shoot but to learn to communicate and work together.
The fighters were then dispersed among the different jihadi organizations, including Ahrar al-Sham ("the Free Men of Syria") and Jabhat al-Nusra ("the Front for the Aid of the People of the Levant").
Some, like Abu Omar's Chechens, were allowed to form their own units and simply referred to as the muhajiroun, or "immigrants".
The Syrians refer to the internationals collectively as the "Turkish brothers". The disparate levels of fighting ability among the men was immediately clear.
The Chechens were older, taller, stronger and wore hiking boots and combat trousers. They carried their weapons with confidence and distanced themselves from the rest, moving around in a tight-knit unit-within-a-unit".
Some rebels complain about the lack of ammunition, but the main problem is not in this, but in the lack of military experience and intelligent commanders.
"The men were also secretive, especially when dealing with the Free Syria Army. When the Syrians asked them where they were from, a blond French-speaker said they were Moroccans, the Chechens said they were Turks and the Tajiks said they were Afghans".
The Guardian describes one of the advances:
"Abu Omar, the Chechen commander, issued an order for his men to advance to try to retake their lost positions around the University of Science.
The Assad's soldiers had stopped their advance and withdrawn their tank, leaving only the snipers. A car was riddled with bullets and still on fire, a skeleton of a bus lay few meters away smoldering, and orange flames and black smoke was spewing from a the first floor of a building.
But three of Abu Omar's men were pinned down by snipers, and one had stood up to shoot the tank with an RPG and been riddled with bullets.
Two Chechens were already in the middle of the square. They hid behind a short stone wall while bullets chipped on the wall's edge. Abu Omar conferred with a Syrian officer in heavily accented classical Arabic on how to rescue his men.
A column of Syrians climbed over an apartment building and tried to shoot at the sniper. After an hour, the shooting had eased and the two men ran across the alleyway. They zigzagged and fell on the ground.
One of them was thick-set, his grey T-shirt torn and covered by a patch of blood. A small metal piece of shrapnel was lodged in the left side of his chest. He pulled it with his fingers and held it for his friends to inspect. Then he smiled.
In broken Arabic, the Chechen described how it had happened.
"For one or two hours we were there, but the sniper shot at us too much," he said. "We moved to the left and the brother moved to the street. There the sniper shot him. There is no sadness, no fear, the brother is a martyr", he said, and quoted a verse from the Quran.
But Abu Omar was angry. There had been 40 muhajiroun few days earlier but by the end of fighting that day they were down to 30. They had lost 10 men in two days.
That night he issued an ultimatum to the Syrian rebel commanders. If they hadn't mustered a large number of men to support their rear the muhajiroun would pack up and leave. The reinforcements did not materialise, so the Chechens left in the night.
"Let them go", fumed a Syrian commander next day. "I didn't hit them on their hands and tell them to come fight the jihad and take responsibility of this frontline", wrote the London newspaper.
Department of Monitoring