Free Syrian Army will not join U.S.-led coalition against ISIS

Middle East Eye reports: The Free Syrian Army has announced that it will not sign up to the US-led coalition to destroy Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria.

The group’s founder, Colonel Riad al-Asaad, stressed that toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is their priority, and that they will not join forces with US-led efforts without a guarantee that the US is committed to his overthrow.

“If they want to see the Free Syrian Army on their side, they should give assurances on toppling the Assad regime and on a plan including revolutionary principles.”

The announcement appears to be reversing an earlier satement on Thursday by the National Coalition opposition, the Free Syrian Army’s political wing, which said it was ready to work with the coalition against IS.

Saying they had “long called for this action”, the coalition called on US politicians to authorise the training and equipping of the Free Syrian Army “as soon as possible”.

The Free Syrian Army, mostly composed of military personnel who have defected from Assad’s armed forces, had already been engaged in battles against IS militants. [Continue reading…]

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