A report out of Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News claims that the pro-US “moderate” rebel faction the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has abandoned its last territory in northern Syria, in the city of Aleppo.
The report cites Turkish military sources as saying the FSA withdrew 14,000 fighters from the city, where they controlled a strip of road leading to the Turkish border, and that their leader is “being hosted and protected by the Turkish state.”
The FSA, like most pro-US rebel factions, has suffered mounting losses in northern Syria, and was widely expected to lose its foothold in Aleppo to the Syrian military. The claim of 14,000 fighters is surprisingly high, as the FSA had been seeing mass defections for quite some time.
How valuable the territory they are abandoning in Aleppo is is no longer clear. Once the nation’s economic and industrial capital, Aleppo is virtually destroyed from years of war.
It does mean the FSA and the other moderates are now confined almost entirely to the Jordanian border, where they’ve yet to split with al-Qaeda, and therefore haven’t yet been wiped out by them.