First Published: 2012-11-09

 

Syria rebels to drastically restructure

 

Free Syrian Army is relocating its leadership to rebel-held territory in bid to win vital international support.

 

Middle East Online

Reorganising

NORTHERN SYRIA - Syria's largest armed opposition group is undergoing a drastic reorganisation and relocating its leadership to rebel-held territory in a bid to win vital international support, a general said.

Mustafa Sheikh heads the military council that presides over the Free Syrian Army (FSA) but which has been criticised for failing to bring order to an organisation some of whose members have been implicated in suspected war crimes.

But Sheikh said that in the past 10 days, the FSA had started to restructure itself into five divisions -- north, south, east and west, and the coast -- and would elect new leaders.

"We are getting closer and closer to becoming organised, so that we can get to a stage that is accepted by the international community," he said.

He said the FSA's priorities were organisation and securing heavier weapons than the Kalashnikovs and improvised rockets many units currently make do with.

"This body will operate in an organised and disciplined manner. When this happens, the international community will know where these weapons are going."

Washington has said it is working "very hard" to help the opposition unite in its struggle to bring down President Bashar al-Assad.

It has said that the Syrian National Council, an umbrella grouping of largely exiled dissidents, is no longer a valid leader of the opposition and called for representation from those on the front line.

Sheikh said the FSA leadership, based largely in neighbouring Turkey, is countering criticism from its rank and file, by relocating around 200 officers -- including himself -- back to "liberated" parts of Syria.

"Leaders and officers should not be away from the front, away from their soldiers. It's better to stay, for a better organisation, for better morale and for better control on the field, it's preferable," he said.

 

Turkish warplanes pound Kurdish forces in Iraq, Syria

US criticizes 1915 massacres in Armenia

Iran, major powers to review adherence to nuclear deal

Netanyahu cancels talks with German FM over NGO meetings

Young Iraqi innovator building home-made drones

Baghdad condemns Turkish airstrikes on Kurdish forces

IS executes Iraqi civilians in Mosul

Qatar World Cup workers receive random health checks

Libyan government calls for foreign intervention as fighting spreads

Tunisia parliament votes to ease harsh drug law

Nostalgia dominates Iraqi Ba’ath conference in Spain

Moroccans call on Le Pen voters to quit country

Turkey court rejects opposition challenge to referendum result

Spain arrests 4 for links to Belgium IS attacks

Iraq forces push towards UNESCO site in Hatra

Israel appoints country's first female sharia judge

Frontline clinic is window to hell of IS-held Mosul

Iraq forces retake west Mosul neighbourhood from IS

Iraqi Kurds lament ‘unacceptable’ Turkish air strikes

Khamenei urges Iran candidates to focus on home

UN chief urges donors to prevent Yemen famine

Yemen’s ‘march for bread’ protestors end week-long march

Jailed British-Iranian sees final appeal rejected in Tehran

Iran election may be pointer to race for supreme leader

US-backed forces enter key IS-held Syria town Tabqa

Israel probe clears officer who shot teen attackers

Syria ‘ready’ to halt fire for chemical attack probe

Israel charges teenager for bomb threats against Jewish institutions

Egypt sentences 20 to death over 2013 police killings

Erdogan accuses researcher of 'inciting assassination'

Qatar Airways CEO accuses US carriers of ‘bullying’

At least 15 migrants drown near Lesbos

Former employees work to salvage Mosul University

Jordan wary about jihadists wishing to return home

US fires opening shots in confrontation with Iran

Mattis sees Saudi Arabia ‘helping across the region’

Sirens, silence as Israel remembers Holocaust

Houthis intensify crackdown on dissent in Yemen

Italian reporter released in Turkey

Algiers summons Morocco envoy over Syrian migrant row

Macron, Le Pen gird for final French election duel

Iran reverses decision to ban live presidential debates

Six Israelis including two soldiers held for anti-Arab attacks

Economists, rights advocates concerned over Egypt’s state of emergency

US Defense Secretary Mattis visits strategic Djibouti