And if Assad fails to make enough gains, they'll defect right back again.
The takeaway for the story from the interventionists will be that this is happening because we failed to support the FSA.
And they're wrong.
It's happening because there was never a Free Syrian Army. There were assorted militias that functioned like mercenaries aligning with anyone and everyone who would help them get money and weapons. They even aligned with Al Qaeda and the US at the same time.
And there were lots of commanders and officials far from the battlefield who met with US officials and demanded more stuff while maintaining the FSA myth.
The Syrian Civil War was fought on crude barbaric terms with bands of fighters seizing control of territory to cash in on it. It's still being fought that way with the leading militias fighting each other as much as Assad.
Now some of them are going back to Assad. This is how things work in much of the Middle East.
Syria isn't France or Italy. Like the rest of the Middle East, it's a jumbled collection of ethnic, religious and tribal alliances backed by militias and potential militias. It's not a country, it's an encampment.
Four top rebel commanders in Syria have switched sides to join President Assad’s forces in a further sign of disarray in fragmenting opposition ranks.
The men, from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), are thought to have become disillusioned with an opposition that is becoming increasingly dominated by Islamist factions and alliances. Islamists have been doing much of the recent fighting. There is also a strong sense that the recent gains made by Assad’s forces make it pragmatic for FSA officers to go back to the regime.
The defections are expected to improve Mr Assad’s standing in the June presidential elections.
Oh right. The "elections". Can't imagine how those will come out.
Brigadier Mohammed Abu Zaid, the former president of the military court in Aleppo, Colonel Marwan Nahila, the head of the military council in Homs, and Colonel Abu al-Wafa, the head of the military council in Damascus, are thought to have defected to the regime last week. The news was announced by both pro- and anti-government media channels yesterday, and has been verified by other senior FSA figures.
All three men were members of the Syrian military before the start of the uprising in 2011, and had defected to join the fledgeling FSA at the start of the armed conflict.
The fourth defector, Sergeant Fadi Deeb, was working under the command of Colonel Mustafa Hashem, the commander of the FSA’s western front. Sergeant Deeb is believed to have defected last month as the opposition began its Anfal offensive in Latakia province.
And if Assad fails to make enough gains, they'll defect right back again. Which means anyone who thinks this is about freedom or democracy is kidding themselves. It's about looting the other side which happens to be whoever isn't paying you at the moment.
This isn't a war. This is gangland with a gang religion.