The US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), Al Nusra Front, and the Islamic State have paired together in order to fight President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian Armed Forces, according to statements from multiple commanders from within the FSA.
“We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in… Qalamoun,” said Bassel Idriss, a commander of a Free Syrian Army brigade. “Our battle is with the Assad regime, and it is on Syrian lands only,” he told to Lebanon’s Daily Star.
According to another Free Syrian Army commander, the combining of forces with the Islamist terror outfits was needed in order to achieve the greater good. “We have reached a point where we have to collaborate with anyone against unfairness and injustice,” said FSA commander Abu Khaled. “Let’s face it: The Nusra Front is the biggest power present right now in Qalamoun and we as FSA would collaborate on any mission they launch as long as it coincides with our values,” the commander concluded.
Over the weekend, President Obama told NBC’s Chuck Todd: “we have a Free Syrian Army and a moderate opposition that we have steadily been working with that we have vetted. They have been on the defensive, not just from ISIL, but also from the Assad regime. And what-you know, if you recall, at the West Point speech that I gave, I said, we need to put more resources into the moderate opposition..”
In July, several factions within the Free Syrian Army decided to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State terror group.
The Obama administration has over the past couple years delivered weapons and supplies to the Free Syrian Army. According to intelligence assessments, the United States has trained some 20,000 FSA fighters. The administration reportedly has provided FSA with small arms, assault rifles, shoulder-fired rocket-propelled grenades, and TOW anti-tank missiles. A US official told the NY Daily News that the Central Intelligence Agency was training the FSA on how to use the weapons that the US had agreed to distribute.