New Syrian Army

New Syrian Army
جيش سوريا الجديد
Participant in Syrian Civil War

Official logo of the New Syrian Army, which is identical to the logo of the former Division 30

Official logo of the New Syrian Army, which is identical to the logo of the former Division 30
Active 10 November 2015[1] – present
  • Ghosts of the Desert[2]
Leaders Khazal al-Sarhan[3]
Area of operations Deir ez-Zor Governorate, Homs Governorate, & Rif Dimashq Governorate, Syria
Anbar Governorate, Iraq
Part of

Syrian opposition Free Syrian Army[4]

Allies Ahmad al-Abdo Martyrs Brigades and Battalions[6]
Jaysh Usud al-Sharqiya
United States United States[7]
Jordan Jordan
Battles and wars

The New Syrian Army (Arabic: جيش سوريا الجديد, Jaysh Suriyah al-Jadid),[1] or NSA and NSyA,[9] is a group of Syrian Arab Army defectors established during the Syrian Civil War. Founded in November 2015, they seek to expel the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant from eastern Syria. It claims that it had received training and advanced weaponry from the Authenticity and Development Front and CIA.[7]

Operational history

On 16 November 2015, the NSA was deployed at al-Tanf in southeastern Syria, near Iraq and Jordan, and carried out a raid, with or without USA aerial support. No further information was given.[10]

On 5 March 2016, the NSA and another FSA group, Ahmad al-Abdo Martyrs Brigades and Battalions, captured the al-Tanf border crossing from ISIL in a cross-border raid from Jordan.[11]

In May, an Islamic State suicide attack on a NSA base near al-Tanf resulted in a large number of casualties. The attack brought to the surface underlying tensions and a lack of morale within the group, whom allege that the US has failed to provide them with the equipment promised.[12]

In June the NSA's base near al-Tanf was hit by multiple cluster bombs from Russian airstrikes, killing 2 and injuring 18.[8] Russia denied responsibility, although photos released by the NSA identified the bombs as Russian RBK-500 cluster bombs which were delivered from the Khmeimim Air Base in Latakia.[13]

The group later launched an offensive against ISIL in al-Bukamal later that month, but were repelled by ISIL.[14]

On 3 August 2016, the NSA was kicked out of the Authenticity and Development Front.[5]

Ghosts of the Desert

The Ghosts of the Desert is a NSA-affiliated anti-ISIL insurgent group that covertly operates in ISIL-held towns in southeastern Syria and southwestern Iraq such as al-Bukamal, al-Mayadin, and al-Qaim. Since March 2016 they initially sprayed graffiti and raised Syrian and Iraqi flags in the towns, but began to conduct covert military activities the next month, such as sabotage, assassinations of ISIL fighters, and supplying military intelligence to the US Air Force which killed Abu Waheeb in May 2016 in the Iraqi town of Rutbah after the group marked his location, among other airstrikes.[2]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Syria's New Army". BBC. 10 November 2015. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  2. 1 2 "THE GHOSTS OF THE DESERT: FIGHTING ISIS FROM WITHIN". Conflict News. 12 August 2016.
  3. "New Syrian Army will 'liberate eastern Syria' from IS". The New Arab. 12 March 2016.
  4. "The last remaining Pentagon-trained rebel group in Syria is now in jeopardy". Washington Post. 27 May 2016. Most recruits are from the remnants of a Free Syrian Army unit called the Authenticity and Development Front
  5. 1 2 "Syria rebel coalition cuts ties with US-backed group". NOW. 4 August 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  6. "Rebels (FSA Ahmed Salabdo and New Syrian army) captured Al Tanf border crossing. Syria-Iraq". Bosno Sinjić. 5 March 2016.
  7. 1 2 "CIA Funded and SOF Trained: The New Syrian Army Hits the Ground". SOF Rep. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  8. 1 2 "Russian warplanes bomb elite British-backed Syrian rebels". The Telegraph. 17 June 2016. (subscription required (help)).
  9. "The New Syrian Army (@NSyA_Official)". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-08-08.
  10. "New U.S.-backed offensive in northern Syria advances on ISIS outposts". McClatchy DC. 17 November 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  11. "Syria Rebels take border crossing from IS". Associated Press. 5 March 2016.
  12. "The last remaining Pentagon-trained rebel group in Syria is now in jeopardy". Washington Post. 27 May 2016. Retrieved 2016-08-08.
  13. "The al-Tanf Bombing: How Russia Assisted ISIS by Attacking an American Backed FSA Group with Cluster Bombs". Bellingcat. 21 June 2016.
  14. "US Backed New Syrian Army Suffers Crippling Defeat". Retrieved 2016-08-08.
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