Free Syrian Army Won’t Join US Anti-ISIS Coalition

They'll Still Keep Taking US Money and Arms, However

Col. Riad Assad, the leader of the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel, has announced that his group will not join the anti-ISIS coalition the US is assembling, nor will they participate in attacks on ISIS.

Col. Assad insisted that the rebel group’s chief goal is to conquer Syria and oust President Bashar Assad (no relation). He complained the anti-ISIS coalition did not make regime change in Syria its goal.

The Obama Administration has made much of its intention to throw more money and weaponry at the FSA and other “vetted, moderate” Syrian rebels as part of the anti-ISIS strategy, and has pushed Congress to bankroll a plan to train them to fight ISIS.

Even though the FSA isn’t on board with fighting ISIS, Col. Assad did say his group would be happy to keep taking US money and weapons.

The US arms to the FSA and other “vetted, moderate” rebels have been controversial because so many of those weapons have wound up in the hands of ISIS anyhow. The FSA has also been facing growing defections of their fighters into ISIS.

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.