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".

Analysis

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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  • Comment number 237.

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

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 236.

    Since the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has the full support of anti-Kurdish Turkey, does that mean the FSA will turn its weapons on Syrian Kurds who want an independent country.
    And if that happens, will Nato and America set up a No Fly zone to protect Kurds from being massacred by the FSA?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 235.

    Syria in many ways has to sort out its own problems. Europe and the United States can't afford to get bogged down in another Middle East, or N. African war. The tragedy surrounding Syria is the fact that so many innocent people have been killed in the regional war. If the U.S. or Europe moved into Syria there is no guarantee that the civilian casulties would be lessened.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 234.

    These words come from none other, than top radio & TV broadcaster of Syrian state media, Ola Abbas, who defected Syria in July this year, she said "At a certain point, everyone has to decide between the devil and the angels. I did it, even if it was a little too late. I was driven by my conscience, which, after all, is what separates us from animals". The amazing thing is, she is an "Alawite"!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 233.

    Please lets get it understood. The war in Syria is not a struggle for democracy. It is not a war for any sort of political ideology.
    It is a war for Islamic sectarian supremacy. On the one hand you have Assad who is an Alawite closely associated with the Shia's. He is supported by Iran, Irag and Hezbollah (Shia). The FSA is supported by Saudi Arabia and Gulf states who are Sunni.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 232.

    If Syria's citizens are terrified of Assad, doesn't that make him the terrorist? Just saying, ken.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 231.

    If the West pulled out of all Middle East areas and just left them to it, it would all be over a lot faster. Leave... let them sort out their own issues. Most 'developed' countries have had civil wars in the past and learned a lot, without interference from outside. Just let them get on with it

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 230.

    Poor Syrians are paying a heavy price as the regime is harsh in cracking down the militants who struggle for democracy and freedom but can they trust leaders who are not genuine?. It was exposed that India, few Western leaders joined with undemocratic leaders in collaborating with the Sri Lankan regime in crushing the LTTE that made the Eelam Tamils as second class citizens. God bless the Syrians!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 229.

    The BBC propaganda gets more laughable by the day; "Rebel command"!
    I guess we will see Luke Skywalker join the rebel forces soon to overthrow the evil Darth Vader - oh wait, I mean Assad.

    I think I will file this story with all the other garbage coming out of the controlled mainstream media along with the Assad about to flee Damascus and regime about to topple stories that come out every week.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 228.

    This will not be good news for the people living in the area that the armed insurgent's occupy once again,The repeated tactics of the "rebels" to hide in heavily populated areas will lead to more civilian deaths and nobody will accuse them of anything wrong once again

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 227.

    @224 Couldn't agree more except where exactly comes Germany into this? The problem with these folks is 1 they are Arabs not just a different way of life but a completely different universe 2 the majority are islamist extremists which due to iliteracy have never understood their version of the bible the coran. Why for bloody sake is the West so comitted to revive stoneage?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 226.

    Everybody has warned about civil war breaking out in Syria. Well what the heck do they imagine is going on now? Frankly it's about time. I am not one of those sophist ninnies who predicts dire consequences if Assad falls. Better whatever comes after than this cold blooded butcher pleasing foreign powers by his 'stability factor'. Arab states ought to give more anti-armour weapons to the rebels.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 225.

    So rebels/terrorists have announced move to "liberated areas" inside Syria. End of Syria as a free sovereign state then. Ideal really - Iran must be really worried. And did U know the rulers of Turkmenistan Azerbaijan are brutal dictators soon likely to get the Saddam /Gadaffi treatment? Once they're gone non-nuclear Iran will be totally surrounded by US,UK, NATO & no friends like Syria.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 224.

    I've heard this story before. Brutal dictator rules a nation; rebels capture the capitol in the name of "freeing the people to choose their leaders", the regime changes and democracy flourishes briefly, then dies. It happened in Russia, Germany, China and Cuba, among other places. I don't have any great expectations that Syria, Egypt, Libya or Tunisia will be any different.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 223.

    Interesting "A Pakistani cabinet minister offers a $100,000 reward for the death of the maker of an anti-Islam film." Are we not just supporting more potential peoples who will jump on the same band wagon?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 222.

    216 Paulmerhaba..

    Yup...Went back from Turkey..

    Fascinating if a little macabre..

    During the partition of the Ottoman Empire...Brits based in Syria made land grabs in Turkey..

    The only player missing is the French...and we could rewrite history...

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 221.

    Alba Al
    We should expect an imminent attack from Israel on Iran, backed by the US and Europe?

    Love the pleb ref!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 220.

    Sadly, this kind of story is 'living the stereotype'. They would be much better served by a response that was based on peaceful protest and tolerance that sadly what we have seen demonstrated around the world.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 219.

    for any of you that are the slightest bit interested there are numerous sites on the web which people post the vids released by the various islamic fundamentalist terrorist foreign fighters even Brits killing Syrian citizens in their own country especially Christians no wonder they will fight till the end they have seen what happens LIBYA they dont want fundamentalist foreign fighters killing them

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 218.

    The FSA should never have been allowed to operate from within Turkey. This means that NATO is not neutral. I am starting to believe that the whole mess has been orchestrated externally from the beginning. Perhaps the US/Israel war against Iran nas begun just no one has bothered to tell us plebs.

 

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