The Free Syrian Army (FSA) was one of the original anti-Assad militias in the uprising. Because it is considered the most ‘moderate’ and most secular of the anti-Assad forces, it has been the darling of the west since the start of the fighting. However, the FSA is falling on increasingly hard times. On the regime side, it has become one of the primary targets of the Russian bombing campaign, which is supposed to be focused on targeting ISIS. On the Salafi side, it has to fend off ISIS and the AL-Qaeida affiliated the al-Nusra Front. The United States, which is still sympathetic to their cause, is now directly involved with supporting Kurdish dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), that are the biggest threat to ISIS’ position within Syria. If things continue, the FSA may become irrelevant. In part, this reflects the balance of power in Syria. In part, it also reflects the US’ attachment to the Kurds in Iraq. It also reflects the US’ prioritization of ISIS above all else in Syria.
“The SDF are basically taking areas that are of vital interest to the FSA. This falls within a Russian, Assad regime and SDF strategy to disconnect FSA from the IS front line, which would make them irrelevant in the eyes of the West,” Hatahet said. This loss would deprive the FSA of bargaining power in the next negotiations on Syria.