Pretty fair article from the Stars and Stripes, here are a couple of excerpts. Some interesting comments on pay and their injured.
IRBID, Jordan — The main Western-backed Arab rebel group in Syria appears on the verge of collapse because of low morale, desertions, and distrust of its leaders by the rank and file, threatening U.S. efforts to put together a ground force capable of defeating the Islamic State and negotiating an end to the Syrian civil war.
“After five years of this war the people are just tired … and so are our fighters,” said Jaseen Salabeh, a volunteer in the Free Syrian Army, which was formed in September 2011 by defectors from the army of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The Free Syrian Army, or FSA, some of whose members are trained by the Central Intelligence Agency, is the biggest and most secular of the scores of rebel groups fighting the Assad government. Although defeating the Islamic State is the focus of Western attention, the U.S. believes there can be no lasting peace in Syria, and no elimination of the Islamic State there, as long as Assad remains in power.
Unlike the Islamic State and other more extremist groups, however, the FSA has failed to achieve any significant victories or create a “liberated” zone of its own. On many occasions, its former fighters say, FSA units have cooperated closely with the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, which is strong in the north and shares the same battlespace as the FSA in southern Syria.
“The lack of battlefield success has mitigated against them,” Ed Blanche, a Beirut-based member of London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies and an expert on Middle Eastern wars, said of the FSA. “They haven’t been getting significant (outside) support because they haven’t been showing results.”
Among other problems, Salabeh and others say, FSA fighters are losing faith in their own leaders. “They regularly steal our salaries,” said Salabeh, who came to this city in northern Jordan after being wounded in battle and now intends to stay here. “We’re supposed to get $400 a month, but we only actually receive $100.” He also complained of lack of support for those killed or wounded in battle. Fighters who lost legs in the fighting were reduced to begging inside the massive refugee camps in northern Jordan. “If somebody is wounded, they just dump him in Jordan and abandon him,” he said. “Widows of martyred fighters also receive nothing after their deaths.”
As a result, many FSA men in southern Syria were abandoning the group, usually leaving for Jordan or joining the estimated 15,000-strong Nusra Front, according to Saleh and other Syrians interviewed in northern Jordan. By contrast, the Nusra Front reportedly pays its fighters $1,000 a month and cares for its wounded members, paying their medical bills and providing for the families of those killed in combat.
The situation has gotten so bad, Salabeh said, that some FSA fighters are questioning the reason for continuing the conflict. He said a growing number believe the time has come for a ceasefire even it means cooperating with Assad. “After all, Bashar isn’t all that bad,” Salabeh said.
More at http://www.stripes.com/news/us-backed-syrian-rebel-group-on-verge-of-collapse-1.383853?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Campaign&utm_term=*Situation%20Report