Free Syrian Army continues to cooperate with the Al Nusrah Front, Islamic Front in southern Syria

The Free Syrian Army has recently allied with Islamist rebels fighting in al Harah, a town in the southern Syrian province of Deraa. Elements from the Free Syrian Army coordinated their efforts with the Islamist Syrian Revolutionaries Front, the Islamic Front, and the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, to take the al Harah Hill and the surrounding town.

The Free Syrian Army utilized several BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles during the fighting, which the United States supplied to “vetted groups” in April.

In the video below, a unit of the Free Syrian Army uses a TOW missile near al Harah Hill:

The Islamic Front’s official Twitter feed highlights its operations on al Harah Hill. The Islamic Front also released a video (below) showing members of Jaysh al Islam and Suqour al Sham, two factions of the Islamic Front, firing on regime soldiers fleeing from al Harah Hill. A video showing members of Ahrar al Sham discussing their operations has also been released by the Islamic Front.

The Al Nusrah Front (al Qaeda in Syria) has also had a prominent role in the fighting at al Harah Hill and the surrounding town. The group’s Twitter feed for their southern Syria elements released several images of Al Nusrah fighters taking part in the battle.

Al Nusrah fighters on al Harah hill:


“Al Nusrah tank involved in the liberation of al Harah hill.”


Al Nusrah technical fighting at al Harah hill:


The Long War Journal has previously noted that Western-backed groups continue to operate with the Al Nusrah Front, Ahrar al Sham, and the wider Islamic Front coalition. Last month, the moderate Syrian Revolutionaries Front coordinated efforts with Al Nusrah and Ahrar al Sham to take several villages in Quneitra province. In August, elements from the Syrian Revolutionaries Front and the Free Syrian Army worked with Al Nusrah and Ahrar al Sham to take the Quneitra border crossing with the Israeli-held Golan Heights.

More videos showing Free Syrian Army elements using TOW missiles on al Harah Hill and the surrounding town:

Caleb Weiss is an editor of FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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  • JFlood says:

    Why oh why did the term “Technical” get started for guns mounted on trucks?
    BTW those guys in the 2nd video need some serious “Technical” assistance. That video is embarrassing.

  • Daniel Lopez says:

    The first link in the list of FSA video’s firing TOW missiles ( carries a logo on the top left of the video. When I did some google searching to find out who’s logo it is, I found very little results, but did find a page which named the group as Tamoah Ansar al-Islam (Union of Supporters of Islam)
    The only thing the website says about them is: “Salafist Islamic organization that calls for the establishment of a caliphate. Formed in August 2012, it unites under its aegis armed groups that are mainly active in the Damascus area”
    Can anyone tell me about this group’s so called “moderate” credentials or if they are officially FSA or not?

  • blert says:

    What a waste of TOW missiles.
    BTW, the “FSA” is STRICTLY a Western propaganda construct.
    Not one of the anti-Assad formations uses such a sobriquet.
    Naturally, they stay with Arabic — and classic Muslim themes.
    There is NO secular opposition to Assad. That was snuffed out ages ago.
    All that’s left are religious armies. This is the Muslim version of the Thirty-Years War… which took 30 years (1618-1648)
    The Arabs, Turks, Kurds and lesser minorities are at such odds that the President can’t construct an alliance that makes any sense. He really wants to say yes to everybody — instead of taking a side.
    As an infidel power, America, and the West generally, is behind the eight ball whenever Muslims craft war policy. Culturally, the American team doesn’t know which end is up.
    From where the Muslims sit, that’s all to the good. Confused infidels are exactly what Mo’ encourages in his war counsel.

  • Les Evenchick says:

    So whats wrong with the FSA working with Al Nusra?
    They both want the criminal Assad regime defeated. You all should know by now that Al Nusra is not a “terrorist” organization.

  • AndrĂ© says:

    Sorry, but the Syrian Revolutionary Front is associated with the Free Syrian Army, and is definitely not “Islamist” in any sense of the word. They are one of the moderate groups receiving US-made TOW missiles, which they used in this battle. Much of the other FSA groups in the south are associated with the Southern Front. These were the dominant groups taking the large al Harrah regime base, and they took the heavy weapons captured.
    I have seen a few videos showing SRF units firing on retreating regime forces.
    The relatively moderate Islamic Front groups (not “islamist”) had a minor involvement, and the jihadist al-Nusra, according to your article, at least 3 fighters, of the many hundreds involved.
    Some reports said that over 200 regime forces died in the battles. It was, after all, the largest regime base in the south.

  • D James says:

    It is naive to believe that any of these terrorists can be trusted. The Syrian war is hijacked by fantatics and sending any weapons to them is wrong.

  • Evan says:

    The TOW missile system, which is an outdated, Vietnam era, overly expensive, not always so accurate, fly by wire system, was phased out by the US military over a decade ago, back when I was in SOI. New rockets like the SMAAW were phased into infantry units, and there’s really no comparison, when it comes to effectiveness, ease of use, lethality, etc.
    The fact that these guys have American made missiles really shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody. There’s tons of foreign gear over there, hell, it’s all “foreign,” to them because they don’t produce ANYTHING, except that one thing…..
    So what the FSA has TOW missiles?
    Look at what IS has….
    They have American guns and ammo too, and humvees, and MRAP’s and M198 howitzers, and M1A1 main battle tanks, the list goes on and on and on and on. Half of the air strikes or more are probably aimed at destroying looted vehicles or heavy weapons or both that IS has captured from the Iraqi army. That’s the stuff that would give IS a definite advantage, if they can figure out how to use and maintain it, and then integrate it effectively. Plus, it doesn’t look so good when these guys decide to have a parade and show off all of the gear they’ve acquired. In fairness, there’s arms and munitions and all manner of nastiness from lots of countries over in Syria/Iraq. China and Russia have both played significant parts in arming the region, but it’s neither here nor there.
    My question is, if we were in the FSA’s shoes, what would we do? What would we be willing to do? I’m not sure it’s realistic, after 3 years or slaughter, to expect these guys not to work with strong, effective players on the ground, albeit, radical Islamist ones. It just doesn’t add up.
    If we saw our country burned, bombed and shelled to the ground, our women and children starved, raped, tortured and murdered, we would work with any like minded person to defeat our common enemy.
    These guys show up, they have money, they have arms, they have experienced fighters, and they are calling you brother and friend, they are co opting the war against Bashar Assad, but they’ve done it in a really smart way. Not by using words and so called diplomacy. They’ve shared in the suffering of some of the Syrian people, I’m specifically referencing Al Nusra, and the Islamic front and affiliates. Not IS.
    When you have that shared suffering and struggle and you’re actually on the ground fighting, how much sway can any foreign government expect to possess, from a great distance, providing outdated weapons only, and that after only 2 1/2 years of fighting? It doesn’t make sense. We’ve flat out lost that one, mostly because it’s not our country or our region and we have no presence there.
    Likewise, knowing that we cannot ever really influence these groups to do anything, we should limit our involvement.


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