Free Syrian Army 'move command centre inside Syria'


General Riad al-Asaad: "We are glad to let you know that the leadership of the FSA has moved into Syria"

The rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) has announced that it has moved its command centre from Turkey to "liberated areas" inside Syria.

A video posted on YouTube appeared to show the leader of the FSA, Riad al-Asaad, confirming the move.

Gen Asaad does not say in the video when the move took place, or where in Syria the FSA's new headquarters are.

The FSA is the most prominent of the armed groups fighting to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Thousands of Syrians have died since the initially peaceful uprising began in March 2011, with activist groups putting the toll at over 25,000.

The FSA's move into Syria was made the previous week and "aimed to unite all rebel groups", Brig Gen Mustafa al-Sheikh of the FSA's military council told the Associated Press news agency.

The video which appears to show Gen Asaad announcing the move is entitled Communique Number One From The Inside.

In it, he says that the relocation had happened "after successful arrangements the FSA made earlier in collaboration with the combat battalions and brigades to secure liberated areas".


The move by the FSA command to set up shop inside Syria is significant for several reasons.

It implies confidence that rebel control of "liberated areas" in the north of the country is stable enough for it to be able to direct operations from there.

It also implies a greater degree of unity among the somewhat disparate elements that make up the armed opposition, and could boost that unification process. In Aleppo, a joint Military Council has already been formed, embracing the main fighting groups.

The FSA announcement also made much of the fact that while outside the country, the command had been under heavy pressures from various international and regional powers. Presumably it will now feel more independent - though supply lines across the Turkish and other borders will still be vital.

The move should also enhance the credibility of the FSA command, which had been criticised for being comfortably outside the country and out of touch with the situation on the ground.

He goes on to say the FSA will fight "side by side" with "all brigades and factions" until victory.

Gen Asaad adds the capital, Damascus, will be "liberated soon, God willing" but also rejects the idea that the FSA is seeking to replace the current regime.

The Syrian people must agree on any new government, he says.

The move is significant as the FSA has previously been criticised for leading from Turkey and being out of touch with realities on the ground, the BBC's Jim Muir in Beirut reports.

It now seems the FSA has territory it feels is reliably under their control, he adds.

The new command centre, in a secret location, will clearly be highly vulnerable to air attack by the regime - something that could increase pressure for some kind of international air cover for the "liberated areas", our correspondent says.

Strike aftermath

Meanwhile, in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, a government offensive against districts where rebels have been operating has reportedly been continuing.

Graphic footage posted online on Saturday appears to show the aftermath of an airstrike in the Al-Missar quarter of the city.

Residents are shown trying to pull dead bodies from the rubble, including those of two young children.

Syrian men look at the destroyed building of a school which was bombed by Syrian government war planes which was allegedly housing rebel fighters in the Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood of Aleppo Bombardment was once again reported from rebel-held districts of the northern city of Aleppo

The UK-based opposition group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at nine people had died in a strike in Al-Missar.

The city has been the scene of rebel activity and heavy government bombardment for weeks.

Fighting was also reported by the Observatory between rebels and government forces in the western part of Aleppo province.

The Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC), a network of anti-government activists based inside Syria, said 66 people had been killed in and around Damascus on Saturday, where clashes between rebels and government forces have also been raging in recent weeks.

The LCC put the toll in Aleppo on Saturday at 47.

Also on Saturday, the Lebanese military said FSA rebels had attacked a Lebanese army border post near the town of Arsal.

The Lebanese army said in a statement that this was the second time in less than a week that the FSA had infiltrated Lebanese territory. Military reinforcements have now been moved to the area.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    Caught in the internet? It has a way of causing one to think of things we cannot do anything about. Should have a warning to take it in small doses, as it can lead to a bad outlook on life.

    IMO leave this region to sort itself out - they will then learn the outcome was theirs and no one else is to blame.

  • rate this

    Comment number 196.

    193. Swing Lowe
    No reason or rational to pick up gun, they might have kept books while Europe was in the dark ages but they clearly did nothing with the content and progressed their understanding of science
    And what is your excuse? It would be easier to take you seriously if you displayed any qualities of any kind yourself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 195.

    If only you people in the "west" had the same standard for all the conflicts and cases as opposed to pick and choose which conflict better serves your "national interest" to get involved with and which one to avoid. The bottom line is, the pack of wolves (USA, Russia, China, France) and of course the old fox himself (UK) will feast on the misery of millions of innocent bystanders in the world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 194.

    Syrian Govt have good ties with Iran
    Case of Iran & Israel war.. Syria will support Iran
    So the plan is to destablize Syrian goverment....

    There is no Arab spring.... Western countries are not interested in democracy but they have their own interest... Oh yes.. All this propaganda against Muslims.... Show Muslims as terrorists, crazy people and Israel will be able to justify taking more land

  • Comment number 193.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    People who have wanted no part in this war and have taken no side are being killed every day. Many more people are also injured, displaced, caring for others or in some way affected by the war. The numbers are huge. Those memories will last longer than any peace treaty or arms contract.

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    184 Trout whatever
    This is a myth you recite about "dark Ages". you evidently know little but oft repeated nonsense. Put briefly As a History major I know more dettails about than this. Many false claims are made about arab achievements: many came to them via trade routes from China. Study real history and learn more..

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    Arab Spring? The resulting 'democracy' is: One man, one vote, one time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    The FSA claim to have moved its HQ onto Syrian territory, which may well be untrue. The National Co-Ordination Body (NCB) planned a National Conference for Rescuing Syria for tomorrow, September 23. The NCB has now cancelled the conference, accusing the FSA of kidnapping conference delegates. Poor Syria bleeds whilst its neighbours seek to tear it apart..

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    @ 185. Swing Lowe:
    We should bring you over there and present you to these people, They would immediately recognise what we have to put up with and we'd all have a good laugh about it. Of course we would leave you there though, purely for educational and cultural exchange purposes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    170 Swing Lowe..

    You`re pleased they ( backward Arab types, presumably ) are reinventing the wheel !..

    Most scholars credit the invention of the wheel to the culture of ancient Mesopotamia...

    You know what countries make up Mesopotamia...right ?

    And you call them ignorant....HA !

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    5 Rockthecasbah - A very rose-tinted view of Tibet you have there. Have a look at the massive increase in life expectancy, education, and life quality under Chinese rule. Tibet was not a paradise; rather a brutal theocracy where the masses were kept ignorant and only existed to serve the ruling class.
    China's invasion of Tibet is a lot more justifiable than any of our recent exploits.

  • Comment number 185.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    "Swing Lowe
    The whole of Mohammeds 7th Century Islamisms, that had no idea of evolution or the world being round, against free Westernisation clearly is never going to work."

    You do realise that it was Arab scholars that preserved the knowledge of the Ancient Greeks and created their own whilst Europe was in the midst of the Dark Ages? Words like alcohol, alkali, algebra etc are of Arab origin.

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    Whatever it is West must not take sides or try to intervene. We taxpayers do not wish unnecessary adventures any more. Turkey now almost an Islamist country itself encouraging more blood shed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    The NCB, the main opposition body inside Syria, accuses the FSA and its backers in Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia of being equally responsible for the violence in alongside the Syrian regime. It is hard to see how the Syrian opposition can pull together if it does nothing but squabble.

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    Supporting none,we condemned all forms of violences either inside or outside one's body which can never solve any problem but shall bring more imbalances within us everywhere as we are deeply connected with each other irrespective of living or remaining static and accordingly we Pray both the sides that we must take utmost care that none of the General Public living within the war zone suffer

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    @ 161. Golgotha:
    158.Swing Lowe
    "Why do they need to waste their efforts in fighting when they could spend their time Westernising their backward part of the world"
    Excuse me, why should they spend their time Westernising their "backward part of the world"? What a ethnocentric comment
    158.Swing Lowe and his ilk are the best example why Westernising the world is overrated.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    In Syria its a Sunni vs Shia civil war. If I was President Assad I would call upon Iran for military support.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    164 Swing Lowe..

    It`s probally a good bet that the ancient Persians were aware before most, that the planet was sperical, given their advanced knowledge of astronomy..Anno Domini..

    You know what countries make up old Persia ...right ?

    You know about sweeping generalisations..and vilifying and demonising cultures because of their ethnic backgrounds..self evidently..


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