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Free Syrian Army (Syria)

Last modified: 2024-03-09 by ian macdonald
Keywords: syria | army | armed forces | free syrian army |
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[2011/2012 Anti-Assad Revolt (Syria)] image by Eugene Ipavec, 09 May 2007

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The Syrian uprising began in Deera, when 15 teenagers from the same family (Al-Abazeed) were arrested in early March 2011 for writing an anti-regime slogan on the wall of their school. After attempts to negotiate the release of the children were rejected by the local government, a few hundred protesters gathered in front of al-Omari Mosque on March 18, 2011 calling for reforms and end of corruption.
Soon after the gathering increased in size and it is reported that over 3000 people protested on the first day. According to activists, this protest was faced with Syrian security forces opening fire on the protesters killing 3 people. Protests continued daily and on the 20th of March, 7 police men were killed as well as least 4 protesters. During this time the local courthouse, the Ba'ath party headquarters in the city, and the Syriatel building owned by Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of President Assad, were set on fire. Between 25 April and 5 May 2011, the fourth armoured division of the Syrian Army, led by Maher al-Assad (brother of Bashar), besieged Daraa. Then other cities followed military attacks, like Homs, Hama, Damascus, etc. escalating violence throughout the whole country.
The Free Syrian Army (Arabic: الجيش السوري الحر‎, al-Jaysh as-Sūrī al-Ḥurr, FSA) is a group of defected Syrian Armed Forces officers and soldiers, which was founded after the escalation of violence  afterwards, on, 29 July 2011. It was founded by five (or seven) defected Syrian officers. The group defined "all security forces attacking civilians" as their enemies, and said its goal to be "to bring down the system" or "to bring this regime down".
On September 23, 2011, the Free Syrian Army merged with the Free Officers Movement (Arabic: حركة الضباط الأحرار‎, Ḥarakat aḑ-Ḑubbāṭ al-Aḥrār).
The FSA coordinated with the Syrian National Council starting in December 2011, and supported the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces after the coalition's November 2012 creation. Between July 2012 and July 2013, ill-discipline and infighting weakened FSA, while jihadist groups entered northern Syria and became more effective than FSA. In April 2013, the US promised $123 million aid to rebels, to be funneled through the then leader of the FSA, Salim Idriss. A coalition of moderate Muslim rebel groups fighting under the Supreme Military Council of Syria, which includes the FSA, on 25 September 2014 allied with a predominantly Christian coalition called Syriac Military Council, to unite their fight against the Assad government and ISIS.
The Free Syrian Army has adopted the configuration and tactics of a guerrilla force. There are five deputy chief of staffs who are in charge of five different regions of Syria. The field units are under the direct command of nine regional commanders.
As of January 2012, the army had around 37 named battalion units, 1723 of which appeared to be engaged in combat.
In October 2013, some 66 units fighting with the FSA in the south seceded to join the new Southern Front

The Flag

The FSA uses has adopted this flag and has this logo.
Esteban Rivera, 20 November 2014

Variant flag

[Free Syrian Army sub-unit] image located by William Garrison, 14 November 2023

A variety of a "Free Syrian Army" flag with apparently its name between the three red stars on this flag of Syria, during a demonstration in the neighborhood of Bustan Al-Qasr, Aleppo, Syria, Nov. 13, 2023.
Bill Garrison, 14 November 2023


[Free Syrian Army sub-unit] image located by William Garrison, 21 April 2022

Caption: A white-field flag of an unknown "Free Syrian Army" sub-unit near Beraan, Syria (north of Aleppo, Syria); Oct. 2016. Nazeer al-Khatib/AFP via Getty Images

A fighter from the Free Syrian Army fires an anti-aircraft machine gun mounted on a vehicle deployed during fighting against the Islamic State near the northern village of Beraan, north of the embattled city of Aleppo, Syria, Oct. 24, 2016. - Nazeer al-Khatib/AFP via Getty Images

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William Garrison, 21 April 2022

Army of Conquest

[Free Syrian Army sub-unit] image located by William Garrison, 14 November 2023

Flag of "Jaish al-Fatah" ( جيش الفتح) or the "Army of Conquest" was a joint command center of Sunni Islamist Syrian rebel factions' participation in the Syria Civil War (starting 2011). The Muslim "Declaration of Faith" shahada is shown above "Jaish al-Fatah" name.
William Garrison, 14 November 2023

Al-Tawhid Brigade

[Free Syrian Army sub-unit] image located by William Garrison, 10 February 2024

The flag of the "al-Tawhid Brigade" [Arabic: لواء التوحيد], Romanized: "Liwa al-Tahid", literally: "Brigade of Monotheism", named after the Arabic word "Tawhid" meaning the "oneness of Allah/God". This militia was an armed Islamist insurgent group involved in the "Syrian Civil War" against the government of Pres. Bashar Assad; c. 2013. See Wikipedia:


[Free Syrian Army sub-unit] image located by William Garrison, 10 February 2024