The FSA backlash: is the ramshackle army doing itself out of a job?

Published October 10th, 2012 - 21:08 GMT

Rate Article:

 
PRINT Send Mail
comment (0)
Syria FSA Hezbollah
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 8: All the way to Beirut, or as the Lebanese rhyme goes 'toot, toot' to Beirut: not really Syria by any modern interpretation but the FSA's vengeance against Hezbollah made them threaten to take the battle well over the border and into the heart of neighboring Lebanon. It's not the first time these countries share trouble and probably not the last.

Jabhet al Nosra
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 8: Getting into bed with extremists: in desperation for fighters the FSA have turned to extremist groups like Jabhet al Nosra to help. 'Jihadists' from Afghanistan to Chechnya have appeared in Aleppo and elsewhere, some with links to Al-Qaeda.

The rubble of a destroyed Saadallah al Jabri in Aleppo
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 8: Halab horrors: pro-FSA activists reported that the makeshift army had become 'pariahs' in Aleppo as the shelling continued and more and more destruction, including the Saadallah Al-Jabri Square blast, was attributed to them.

Victims of FSA crossfire
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 8: Civilians caught in the cross-fire: the nature of the battle means city skirmishes by the FSA leave a trail of destruction and as they move from town to town, residents face the regime backlash. In desperation Syrians have asked the FSA to stay away.

SNC meeting in Cairo
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 8: SNC shambles: It's been 3 months since the mess of Syrian opposition groups spoke in Cairo but there are signs of schisms even now. The FSA boycotted the Egypt meeting but have done little to create a unified anti-regime political party. The impression they leave is of all delegates clamoring to steal the microphone.

Hassan Salim al-Miqdad arrested by the FSA in Syria
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 8: Stoking the Hezbollah hatred: FSA soldiers were accused of kidnapping a member of the Lebanese, Al Miqdad, clan-cum- militia with close ties to Hezbollah - a less than smart move that backfired when the Al Miqdads kidnapped 30 wounded FSA personnel in retaliation.

FSA executing prisoners
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 8: Torture allegations: not in the same league as regime forces but those pesky accusations of prisoner executions and torture just wouldn't go away. Human Rights Watch made it official with their report on the FSA and other 'opposition forces' last month.

Palmyra
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 8: Casual looting: Syria is packed full of antiquities but in times of revolution these tourist attractions are more useful as cash for weapons. It's no way to treat you country's heritage and the FSA have come under fire for the black market trade.

As news emerged this week that the Free Syria Army (FSA) was harboring vendettas against Lebanon's Hezbollah and threatening to expand its battlefield to another country, some could no longer ignore the sneaking suspicion that things were not quite right with Syria's opposition. The crisis-ridden country's best bet out of the regime's stranglehold was starting to give off a stench of something rotten about the state of the FSA, and more widely, the Syrian National Council (SNC).  

Complaints were piling up against the amateurish rebel group, who displayed a record of less than exemplary conduct, war crimes and motivations that undermined their clean cause to challenge Assad's regime.

"But to equate the mistakes of FSA fringes with Assad's systematic killing machine is outrageous" tweeted one voice, reminding us that while doing down the opposition, one shoud not forget who they were up against: the historically repressive and brutal killing regime of the Assad family.

Yet they were doing a fine enough job of doing themelves down, and out of, the role for viable alternative to the regime and future leaders of what was turning into a very dirty revolution. 

Accusations levelled at the SNC included the charge of jumping in bed with fanatics, and playing into the hands of foreign jihadi or salafist agents, as well as committing summary executions of civilians and public figures. 

It wasn't long before people were questioning the legitimacy of the FSA - the military wing of the rebel opposition-  who were coming a cropper with every new reported incident of looting, civilian abuse and dead body hurled off a roof top. In this cross-section, above, of their worst bits, a picture emerges of them as hardly the paragons of virtue for a better Syria.
 
Who was running the show and had it been hijacked by less credible groups of scattered agendas? It is tempting to hold the opposition to higher standards than the status quo since they represent a hope of turnig their back on the old already familiar rotten regime.
 
Internally displaced civilians are now pleadig with members of the opposition to spare them the violence that they fully expect them to leave behind. No different to the brutal crackdown of the President, really.
 
 
What do you think? FSA or bust? Where should Syria rest it's hopes now? Is there still a chance to repair the FSA and preen them for leadership?
 
 

Advertisement

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.