Free Syrian Army

Ninety-six (96) local, regional, and international organizations and entities (prime actors) have been identified as influential in the life of Syria. In the chart below, the left column ranks the prime actors from most influential in shaping the life in Syria (Russia) to the least influential (Relief International).

The chart also shows the classification of prime actors into five stances indicating the actor's support and contribution to inclusive nationalism for Syria, starting from the most committed (Core) to the least committed (Saboteur).

Amount of influence of the Free Syrian Army in the life of Syria, and their commitment to inclusive nationalism for Syria.

25 prime actors participated in the following:

  • Determining the rank of the Free Syrian Army according to the amount of their influence on life in Syria. As shown in the chart below, the Free Syrian Army ranked 17th most influential prime actor.
  • Assessing and classifying the Free Syrian Army according to their commitment to inclusive nationalism for Syria (also indicated in the same row by the colored rectangle). Of the 25 prime actors who participated in the assessments, more agreed that the Free Syrian Army falls under the category of 'Core'. A prime actor assessed as Core is seen as wholly committed to inclusive nationalism for Syria. This is their mission.
Syria R3 PA Free Syrian Army.jpg

In response to the question, “How is the Free Syrian Army important in the life of Syria?” 

Round 3 participants stated (Nov. 2016 - Jul. 2017):

"It's influence is declining every day. It is a collection of smaller organizations. Some may spin off later and keep fighting. They are the target of the regime, Russia, and Iran. The United States has failed to keep them armed and trained.” (239312)

"They are the major armed opponent of the regime on the ground. They are seen as a group other countries can work with.” (236592)

"They are an armed group. They are the moderates we can talk to. They are non-ideological. They are the ones who can integrate into a national army.” (233911)

"The FSA is not like it used to be, even in 2013. They get support, and can stand up to any faction, including IS and al-Nusra. The FSA is supported by Turkey and most active in the north (the Euphrates Shield).” (233881)

"Most trusted military group in the opposition. Not tied to Islamists.” (238631)

Round 2 participants stated (Aug. 2016 - Oct. 2017):

"It is the oldest of all the rebel groups. They are a loose umbrella, which allows for easy affiliation. Hundreds, maybe thousands of affiliated groups. They get support from the United States through the CIA because they are seen as moderate. They can stop Assad's tanks with US support. (221951)

"In the beginning they were Syrian officers who left the government, but most have joined Islamist groups now. Many are unemployed now. (221641)

"They were not made from the outside [as] Al-Qaeda was. They were made up of people who refused to stay with the Assad government. (221211)

"They are made up of people adopted by the government, then left it. That means they are people of good reputation. They are candidates for the next government. (221211)

"They are not influential at all. In the recent attacks on Aleppo the Free Syrian Army was barely represented. (221641)

"There is only a leftover force since they started. They fragmented into smaller groups. They still have influence and are supported by the United States and other allies. They can never be opposition. Once the problem is resolved they will be part of the Syrian Army. (223911)

Round 1 participants stated (Jan. 2016 - May 2016):

"The Free Syrian Army [and Jabhat al-Nusra] are filled with outside money and seasoned terrorists. (217701)

"They can coordinate with Jabhat al-Nusra (216921)

"90% of the opposition is extreme hardened, outside terrorists. They force the other 10% to commit atrocities for their own protection. (217701)