Syrian Rebel Factions Unite Under Umbrella Group

Deal Likely Won't Include Several Jihadist Factions

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) is by far the single largest Syrian rebel group, but the movement, made up of various defectors from the Syrian military, has been quite splintered, with several different commanders claiming leadership.

That may end, according to a deal the FSA is reporting today, which came at the behest of the Qatari and Turkish governments, and which will form a leadership council, primarily for the FSA but also nominally for the entire rebellion.

The downside is that the new umbrella group isn’t even the first new umbrella group to be formed in the past week, with the Front to Liberate Syria (FLS) also claiming to be the end-all rebel leadership council while excluding several groups.

The new FSA umbrella and the FLS appear to be mutually exclusive factions, and neither one includes the al-Nusra Front, which is itself a significant rebel movement. In practice this means that the Western goal of getting the rebels “united” is no closer to be finalized, and if anything they are just split into bigger more distinct factions.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of