US-Backed Rebels Fighting One Another in Northern Syria

US Armed FSA Fighters Fire TOW Missiles at Kurds

by Jason Ditz, June 22, 2016

In the northern part of Aleppo Province, territory is constantly changing hands along the frontiers between several factions, including a group that includes parts of the US-armed Free Syrian Army (FSA), the US-armed Kurdish YPG, and ISIS.

The US armed the other factions with an eye toward them fighting ISIS, and they have, sometimes. Repeatedly throughout the past several months, however, the two factions have ended up fighting one another for territory as well, with the FSA recently firing TOW missiles at Kurdish YPG positions.

FSA officials cited a “deepening divide” with the Kurds, saying the situation is heading toward escalation, with the YPG insisted they are confident they could take the FSA groups in a war if it comes to that. And it just might.

Both factions have very different views toward the region, with the Kurds looking mostly to cement gains around ISIS territory while the FSA is more focused on fighting the Assad government, with a little pushing on ISIS. But both also want their respective spheres to grow, and as they inevitably bump into one another, the US weapons they’re wielding are quickly turned on one another.

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