The Free Syrian Army has joined Turkish soldiers in the attack into northern Syria against the Kurds in Afrin. The FSA formed to fight the Assad regime and supposedly for democracy, but now they are back Erdogan’s forces hoping to gain support from Turkey.
In mid-January, a delegation from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) traveled to Washington, seeking to convince the CIA to resume the military aid frozen under President Donald Trump. Otherwise, the group argued, Iran’s influence would continue to grow in Syria. There was little they could do to counter that on their own, said Mustafa Sejari, an FSA commander.
The situation was urgent, Sejari told the Reuters news agency. “It is time to turn words into action. Until now on the ground it’s the Iranian militias that are expanding without serious resistance,” he said. “We asked for the resumption of aid and explained the dangers of leaving moderate FSA forces without support.”
Events a week later showed what Sejari was talking about.
Around 35,000 FSA fighters moved into the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, side-by-side with Turkish forces. The FSA was formed in July 2011 as a group of secular opponents to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and now, in January 2018, it is fighting Syrian Kurds— that is, the citizens of the very country whose democratic and republican nature the FSA once defended.
“The Free Syrian Army practically doesn’t exist,” Kamal Sido, a Mideast expert at the human rights group Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) told Germany’s Deutschlandfunk broadcaster. “The Free Syrian Army is a smokescreen hiding various names, and if you look at the names, at these groups’ videos, you’ll find they are radical Islamist, Jihadist groups.”
The U.S. never fully trusted the FSA and their concerns are now coming true. The FSA is now attacking Kurds in the Afrin area with Turkey. Which are the people and the republic that they are claiming to defend.
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