US-Backed Syria Rebels Crumbling in Face of ISIS Expansion

Many Quitting Rebellion, or Joining ISIS

In the ongoing Syrian Civil War, one constant has been the Free Syrian Army’s downward trajectory as a rebel faction of consequence. The primary of the US-backed “moderate” rebel groups has steadily lost influence to bolder Islamist factions for years.

Now, with ISIS seizing massive portions of Syria and Iraq and seemingly on the cusp of forming a new nation, the FSA is falling apart at the seams, with no territory to speak of and many of its fighters on the way out the door, either quitting the rebellion outright or to join the more successful ISIS.

FSA leaders have long complained about the US aid not being aggressive enough, and now, as President Obama looks to escalate, they’re complaining it’s simply too late.

That doesn’t seem to be stalling the administration, but it should, as the defections to more extreme rebel factions mean those “carefully vetted” fighters are going to be bringing their US provided weapons and cash straight to the harshest militants on the planet.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.