US-Backed Rebels Fight One Another in Northern Syria

US Armed Islamists, Only to See Them Lose Ground to US-Armed Kurds

The recent Syrian military offensive in Aleppo Province has the US keen to throw even more aid at rebel factions, including some Islamist-leaning groups. Hassan Haj Ali, the commander of the Falcons of Mount Zawiya Brigade, confirmed that his forces have been the recipients of US arms recently.

This was done with an eye toward them fighting the Syrian military, and maybe ISIS, but instead they’re locked in a growing battle with the Kurdish YPG, itself the recipient of massive amounts of US weaponry, meaning once again two US-armed factions are in open war in Syria.

Ali says that the US had promised “they’d put pressure on the Kurds to stop the clashes,” but that so far there was no sign of the YPG slowing its offensive. The YPG have been trying to make their way across a strip of land in northern Aleppo in an offensive aimed at ISIS territory nearby.

US efforts to arm rebel factions initially focused on the Free Syrian Army, but as the group became increasingly irrelevant on the ground, the US began courting other rebel factions they thought were more capable of fighting ISIS, but as they added to the number of factions they were arming in this increasingly complex war, it was inevitable they’d be on both sides of some fights.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of