Throughout the Syrian Civil War, the US has championed the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as the eventual victors, bankrolling them and throwing arms at them for years on the conviction they’d eventually win, despite a glaring lack of actual success on the ground.
That seems to be fading, once again, as Stars and Stripes reports the group to be on “the verge of collapse,” citing mass defections to more successful Islamist factions and dwindling morale, with many complaining that their paychecks, already some of the lowest among rebel forces, have a nasty tendency of getting stolen on their way down from the leadership through various ranks.
Saying the group in general is on the “verge of collapse” may be overstating the matter, as some FSA units are enjoying success as minor allies to al-Qaeda. It is the leadership that is faltering the most conspicuously, and as the tier which is doing business directly with the US, they’re the ones the Pentagon are most conscious of.
Ultimately though, a lot of these failings of the FSA leadership are not new. Low pay and corruption has had defections happening for some time, and the US is clearly growing frustrated with the FSA’s inability to get a handle on its problems. Though the US is struggling to find any alternative factions to bankroll, they’re clearly in the market for one.