Free Syrian Army

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The Free Syrian Army (FSA) was formed in August 2011 by army deserters based in Turkey, led by Col Riad al-Asaad.

According to the BBC:

Its banner was soon adopted by armed groups that began appearing across the country. Despite this, the FSA's leaders had little or no operational control over what was happening on the ground in Syria. The opposition's Western and Gulf Arab backers sought to encourage a centralised rebel leadership and in December 2012 a number of brigades affiliated themselves to a newly-created Supreme Military Council (SMC). The SMC's chief-of-staff, Gen Idris, wants it to be a more moderate and stronger alternative to the jihadist rebel groups in Syria. [1]

Meeting with US Senators

In April 2012, US senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain met with leaders of the Free Syrian Army during a visit to the Turkish-Syrian border.[2]

Lobbyists in Washington

In 2012 supporters of the FSA set up a Washington outreach office to lobby Congress, the White House and relevant federal agencies 'to deliver arms and other military goods to help in the group's fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad'.

Known as the Syrian Support Group, it included co-founder Louay Sakka, a Syrian-Canadian and Brian Sayers, full-time director of government relations and a former NATO political officer. [3]


  1. Syria crisis: Guide to armed and political opposition, BBC News, December 2013, acc 6 March 2015
  2. Josh Rogin, McCain and Lieberman meet with the Free Syria Army, The Cable, Foreign Policy, 10 April 2012.
  3. Jay Solomon and Siobhan Gorman, Rebel-Army Backers Open U.S. Office, Wall Street Journal, 26 June 2012