Most groups engaged in conflict in Syria are being leveraged by some or other external power. It is beyond debate or rather is well documented that the US or NATO has leveraged several affiliates of Al Qaeda in different conflicts.
The expanding Shia-Sunni conflict in the Muslim world is exposing vast gaps in popular understanding of the schism. For example when Zaine El Abedine Ben Ali, the Tunisian strongman was ousted, people thought a Shia dictator had fallen. From this they extrapolated that the Arab Spring was an anti-Shia plot.