As Aid Dries Up, Pro-West Syrian Rebels Defect to Islamists

Secular Rebels Defecting to Better-Funded al-Qaeda

The loss of multiple warehouses full of US aid and growing al-Qaeda encroachment has Western nations cutting off the direct provision of aid to the increasingly irrelevant Free Syrian Army (FSA).

That means money is getting tighter and tighter for the FSA, and with al-Qaeda and other Islamist factions seemingly never at a loss for funds, that’s got many of the FSA fighters defecting outright.

FSA commander Ahmed Hariri says that early in the civil war his group was getting millions of dollars, but now the group is down to providing a single meal a day to its fighters, and letting many of them go on leave to get real jobs.

For FSA commanders, that’s a problem likely to get worse before it gets better. Western nations are less and less willing to send aid to the feckless group, which can’t seem to keep it from being stolen, and the US is openly courting the Islamic Front as a possible replacement “pro-US” faction, meaning even if the US does resume its aid to Syrian rebels, it might not be the FSA anyhow.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of