Kidnapping – of both civilians and regime forces – is the most common allegation made against the FSA. Rebels are reportedly demanding money from family members in exchange for releasing the hostage. Syrian refugees on the Jordanian border say that family members connected to the Assad regime have disappeared, and they assume that opposition groups such as the FSA are responsible.
Samer, one of dozens of FSA fighters who cross into Jordan regularly on "missions," says regime soldiers captured by the FSA are often killed. However, other FSA members in Jordan deny this. They say the rebels in Syria who are kidnapping, torturing, and executing regime supporters are not members of the FSA, and that some of them are just using the group’s name for their own personal gain.
“They don’t care if Assad falls. It is a commercial gain for them. They just want money,” says Ahmed al-Masri, a political and media strategist with the FSA who works directly with the Jordanian government to smuggle in soldiers who have defected.
Mohammad Shakaki, an FSA member who coordinates health-care services and aids Syrian soldiers in defecting, used to fight in the streets of Homs for the rebel group. He says that despite the human rights abuses associated with the FSA, the group is “protecting the civil people and always defending the country.”
“We are going to build a country, not destroy it,” he says. “We are going to attack the terrorists and make good relationships with neighboring countries.”