An alarming video shows members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) chanting threats in reaction to American troops entering a small town in northern Syria.

The video might really show us that Americans are in danger in Syria. It also shows we are not necessarily winning hearts and minds. Above all, it shows that Syria, like the rest of the Middle East, is like a shirt with a thousand pockets. Each pocket is a different tribe or family with a separate identity. Some might be splintered from one another, some belong to a greater whole, but the identities in the region are fractured by design. They have commonalities, but they answer to their family and tribal identities at the end of the day. This is why dictatorships arise so frequently in the Middle East.

However, there is no official statement or report confirming these individuals are members of the FSA. They may be locals who opted to fight to protect their land. They may also be past or current FSA members. This begs the question as to what membership in the FSA means in Syria. It seems every time a local group that is not al-Qaeda or ISIS does something, they’re the FSA. It might be as simple as that inside Syria. This war has exposed old tribal identities. Each of the main groups are likely comprised of sub-groups, tribal members who feud with one another frequently. The same was true during the times of Lawrence of Arabia, and the same is true today.

The FSA may not be a tightly woven group at all, and may instead be a large group of people who have to give some loyalty to local warlords who are members of the FSA. That would be a tribal or community-based militia willing to fight if need be. This is more likely than the accepted narrative that the FSA is a larger coordinated army at play. In fact, if they were comprised of militiamen, it would be ideal for guerrilla warfare and would help keep tribal feuds at bay.

It could be a lack of U.S. leadership on the ground. Varied reports make it difficult to imagine concrete alliances. It seems local leaders do not have total control. Regardless, these are Syrians. They’re not an organized force of jihadi fighters, but local peoples, and they are in open revolt of our presence. We need the hearts and minds to view us as an answer to oppression, not the beginning to more of it.

If the FSA was loosely connected, but connected nonetheless, by groups of fighters, they might have some autonomy regarding which battles in which they choose to participate. If so, it would explain the practical reason rumors exist that the FSA coordinates with other local groups. Those stories run the gamut. Here is one where FSA and Jabhat al-Nusra team up. Here’s one where the FSA and ISIS work together. Here are two articles saying that al-Qaeda is winning Syrian hearts and minds and the war itself. The FSA might be more like a neighborhood Wiffle Ball or kickball game: It’s one neighborhood versus another, but one neighborhood has people from all over the place, and the other is a gated community.

The situation is complicated, as this video shows. It also indicates that Syria is more porous and less of a hell than people choose to believe. No war zone is a constant running battle, and most battles are cyclical and short-lived compared to life at large in a war zone. It also shows the conflict among the Syrian people and that emotions are running high. If nothing else, it shows a strong anti-American sentiment and suspicion of conspiracy among those in the video.