Wednesday, October 15, 2014

U.S. Ditches FSA – Building New Local Force in Syria

Retired Gen. John Allen, coordinating the U.S.-led alliance against the Islamic State, said on Wednesday that the United States is not coordinating operations in Syria with the Free Syrian Army.

“At this point, there is no formal coordination with the FSA,” Allen told reporters at the State Department. (McClatchy DC, 15 October)

Allen’s comments confirmed what the FSA commanders have complained for months that the U.S. is discarding the Free Syrian Army and building a new local ground force to fight ISIL in Syria. Allen told reporters that the United States’ intent is to start from scratch in creating a homegrown counterweight to the Islamic State.

“It’s not going to happen immediately,” Allen said. “We’re working to establish the training sites now, and we’ll ultimately go through a vetting process and beginning to bring the trainers and the fighters in to begin to build that force out.”

Allen added that as important as the Syrian arena is, the emergency in Iraq right now is “foremost in our mind.” There will also be a simultaneous training-and-equipping campaign for Iraq.

“We have the capacity to do both, and there is significant coalition interest in participating in both… But it’s going to take a while,” Allen said.   

File photo: A 2012 photo of Free Syrian Army fighters (


Mark Pyruz said...

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond talks of creating a new 50,000 man force paid in the range of $300-$600 per man, for what would be a New Syrian Army.

It's obvious our American-led strategy for this war does not attach much if any significance to the factor of time.

Imagine if President Bush had instead of using Iran-allied IF in Afghanistan, waited to put together a new 50,000 man force to fight Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. We certainly wouldn't have wrapped up the initial combat phase of OEF-A in 90 days, that's for sure. That this success was squandered by the "Axis of Evil" moment and the refocusing of military resources toward OIF is without bearing on policies from the initial phase of OEF-A that could again bear fruit in the current war against ISIL.

Anonymous said...

No US trained force has ever won a war, just look at the $20 billion Iraqi army reverse gear marathon. President Assad has the support of majority of his people and ISIS cannibal terrorism has only put off more Syrians. The SAA has held steadfast despite 3 years of daily wishful commentaries of Dr. Assad's "imminent demise". The reality is that the Syrian government is very resilient and the SAA is perhaps the most battle tested Arab army, having fend off just about every hue of terrorists.

Mark Pyruz said...

That should be UF not IF, sorry.

Nader Uskowi said...

Sloganeering does not resolve Syrian conflict. The war has been going on for too many years. Assad is only a caricature of his old self, having lost large parts of his country, and forced to govern western parts through military campaign, and only with the presence of Quds Force/Hezbollah/Shia militias (as opposed to old Assad who was supposed to rally the “Axis of Resistance” against Israel and in defense of Iran). The solution to the conflict will not be found on the battle field, but only through political will of all factions involved, including the government, to form a government of national unity and salvation, to get rid of ISIL and bring normalcy back to the country.

Anonymous said...

May US decision makers finally hear your wisdom Mr. Uskowi. Indeed, considering this news, I'm afraid they have yet to see through their current persisting scheme in militarizing the conflict even more by funding, training, in other terms creating yet another military actor in this terrible war despite its certified counter-productiveness and the uncontrollable monsters it generates on the mid-term, behaving in no way better than Iran and its Quds force/Hezbollah trying to tip the balance of this geopolitical struggle in its favor by means of arms on the ground, not to mention its Gulf allies' support for Islamism-oriented groups such as Nusra, and, of course, its internationally infamous splinter group ISIS, or lesser known Ahrar Al Sham. What rules the day in Syria and Iraq are smocking guns, and certainly not any pen inking armistice or accords of any kind for now... I too hope for peace in the region and every single soul coming to their senses, forgetting about their respective hidden agendas in this civil war and running back to the negotiating table together with no second thought to avoid further regional catastrophes. If only one of them truly cared about the Syrian and Kurdish people and not what they perceive as beneficial fallout they might gain from it via their next calculation. Neither Assad's camp or its opponents are at this time willing to quit their current heading, so we can only hope events on the ground ultimately unravel in a way that motivates them one way of another in stopping the influx of arms and endless offensives against one another. I do not see it coming anytime soon and, quite unfortunately, that sad fact makes such wishful thinking about a political solution with all factions involved ceasing hostilities become another form of optimistic sloganeering at this point, with all due respect and a desire for the very same outcome. Anyone can say it works for the good and hopes for the best, still a political turn of the conflict is completely off the table if we take into account existing, irreconcilable postures from opposing parties either willing to topple Assad or keep him in power unconditionally, for whatever reason depending on a myriad of colliding interests and the complex pictures it produces today... For instance, Erdogan doesn't bomb besieged Kobane but still takes the care of bombing PKK forces elsewhere, equating them and their YPG counterparts with the ISIS monsters, as ludicrous as such parallel may seem, while Iran itself deploys forces all around Syria and Iraq to protect Assad and augment the SAA, but still ignores that front-line entirely and calls for others to intervene, absurd yes, but ongoing, also. And of course, last but not least, the US making no secret of a very relative importance of that city and its brave defenders in their eyes; seeing and expressing no urge to go all-in and declaring in public that its fall would be no big deal, relying to limited, selective strikes that barely allow breathing space for Kobane's defenders... these are the fact on the day, and they're all ugly.


Anonymous said...

AnonymousOctober 15, 2014 at 11:40 PM
Agreed,but the saa is not just holding the line against the terrorists it is increasingly on the offensive recapturing territory,meanwhile the chances of the terrorists achieving any kind of victory look very bleak,certainly without any nato intervention all they can do is prolong the inevitable

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Uskowi !
Who exactly are these Syrian factions or elements capable of forming a national unity government or bringing normalcy and perhaps some sense of decency back to Syria ? I think a certain Rubicon has been crossed in Syria and putting the proverbial humpty dumpty back together may not be worth the effort . Instead we should focus our resources on humanitarian assistance and counter-terrorism operations .And to do so , we need to establish military bases from Baghdad to Basra .