US-Backed Syrian Rebels Face ‘Total Collapse’ in Aleppo

FSA Division 'On Standby' After Commander Resigns

While al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front has done much of the heavy lifting in the fight over the northern city of Aleppo, they haven’t been alone, teaming with a series of rebel allies, including the 16th Division of the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), which holds a pair of districts within Aleppo itself.

Or at least, they are positioned in those districts. The FSA forces aren’t holding anything right now, as reports of the resignation of division commander and every single one of his assistants has left the group without any official orders, stuck on standby.

The commanders resigned citing non-specific “medical reasons,” and while what’s left of the brigade is waiting for new orders and a new command structure, with the forces in surrounded districts in Aleppo it’s also highly possible that the FSA will just disband Division 16 outright.

The fate of the commanders is also unclear, with a lot of speculation that ahead of their resignation they managed to make a run for the Turkish border, leaving their forces behind in a losing situation after suffering losses to Syrian mechanized infantry surrounding their districts.

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.