There is No FSA, There is Only Al-Qaeda
December 27, 2017
A brief overview of collaboration between the US-backed Free Syrian Army and al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front.
Among Syria commentators in the West, both left and mainstream, it is commonly claimed that the Syrian government led by Bashar al-Assad has attempted to crush the supposedly moderate, secular rebels of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), while at the same time deliberately supporting extremist rebel groups in order to “Islamize” the Syrian rebellion and to convince the West the Syrian government is really fighting terrorism. It is argued that if Assad could claim his government was fighting al-Qaeda terrorists, rather than secular freedom fighters struggling for democracy, this would force the US and other Western powers to end their support for the Syrian rebels trying to topple the Syrian government, and to instead embrace Assad as a partner with the West in the so-called War on Terror.
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A closer review of events in Syria shows the opposite, however, namely that it is the US-backed FSA-branded Syrian rebel groups that have consistently collaborated with and fought alongside al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, as well as alongside other Salafi-Jihadi rebel groups, namely Ahrar al-Sham and Jaish al-Islam, and at times even alongside the Islamic State (ISIS).
Nusra and FSA-affiliated brigades have essentially functioned as a coalition in the fight against the Syrian government, with FSA commanders often referring to fighters from Nusra as members of the FSA itself. In many cases, FSA offensives against Syrian government military bases or check points have begun with suicide or truck bombings carried out by Nusra militants. Nusra and FSA-affiliated brigades have established joint committees to divide weapons captured from the Syrian army in rebel offensives. FSA commanders often sell US and Gulf-supplied weapons to Nusra.
Certain FSA brigades and Nusra have of coursed clashed at times, however, there is a clear pattern of FSA collaboration with Nusra generally. FSA and Nusra militants have fought side by side in key battles in which the Syrian opposition has been able to capture large population centers and territory from the Syrian government. » Lees verder