Two months ago the ramshackle brigades that make up the opposition fighters in Syria  were told: ‘join the Syrian National Army (SNA) or disband.’
The disjointed divisions were causing chaos internally and undermining the credibility of a post-Assad government. Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, SNA commander-in-chief, Major General Muhammad al-Haj Ali, said; “… the Free Syrian Army (FSA) reached a stage where it could no longer absorb all the opposition elements and brigades within its structure.”
He added that uniting the opposition under one banner would help avoid further bloodshed once Assad was ousted. It didn’t work and the factions remain. Not only are these Sunni groups often extreme in their religious views - the rebel movement is now steeped in religious discourse - some also have ties to criminal activities and recruit from outside Syria.  It does not bode well for the future of this already fragmented country.
"Islamization" of the rebel armed bands
Here we walk you through the hardline Islamist armed brigades  in a beginner’s guide to the opposition's fanatic factions.
As illuminated by a Foreign Policy report, utlraconservative Salafi-Jihadis in all their stripes may still be just a minority of the rebel movement broadly speaking - but they make a lot of military clamor as comparative lightweights in a heavyweights international arena.
The FSA  - the poster boys of the rebel movement- do not feature in this field-guide, though some have accused them of being less secular than the outside world would have you believe. What do you think? Is the Syrian rebel movement turning into a free-for-all Sunni insurgency that is starting to remind us more and more of Al-Qaeda? Have we missed out any extreme Islamic factions that have joined the fray?