Colonel Abdul Jabbar al-Okaidi
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Syria rebel ex-commander says West 'supporting' Assad

One of the top rebel commanders in Syria has accused "hesitant" British and US policymakers of effectively backing the Syrian government.

Col Abdul Jabbar al-Okaidi said by accepting Syria's offer to scrap his chemical weapons, the US gave it space to step up conventional attacks.

"The West is supporting the criminal Assad regime," he told BBC Newsnight.

It was his first foreign interview since stepping down this week as head of the Aleppo military council.

The council forms part of the Free Syrian Army, which the West regards as the main moderate grouping on the rebel side.

Watch Tim Whewell's report, including his interview with Col Abdul Jabbar al-Okaidi on Newsnight on BBC Two at 1030pm on Friday 8 November 2013 or catch up later on BBC iPlayer and the Newsnight website.