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.

 

Iraq’s peshmerga ‘break’ Mount Sinjar siege

Yemen’s Huthis seize Sanaa state offices

Tough times for oil-rich GCC

Obama concerned about Egypt mass trials

Tumbling oil prices cut budgets of Mideast arms exporters

Turkey acquits sociologist over 1998 explosion

EU foreign affairs head to visit Iraq

Turkey court remands Samanyolu TV chief in custody

IS threatens to kill Lebanese soldiers held hostage

Turkish media chiefs charged with terrorism

Iraq may delay payment of Kuwait war reparations

Over $900 million needed to help Syria children

Saudi rules out oil output reduction

Dutch populist lawmaker to be tried for 'fewer Moroccans' vow

Outrage in Algeria over Islamist call for Algerian author's death

Iraq Kurds, coalition launch offensive to retake Sinjar

Three years to end Israeli occupation in UN resolution

Somalia appoints new PM after bitter infighting

Blow to Israel: EU court removes Hamas from terror blacklist

Sharp rise in Syria passport applications

Turkey FM visit to Iran highlights Syria divide

UK troops mistreated Iraq detainees in 2004

Saudi to carry on massive public spending

Iran to Australia: We warned you about the gunman

From bikini to Jihad in Ceuta, Melilla

Tunisia votes Sunday in second round of presidential poll

Islamist militias launch air strike near key Libyan oil terminals

Egypt refers 312 Islamists to military courts

Turkey rejects EU criticism over media arrests

Kerry meets chief Palestinian negotiator

Saudi cleric sparks uproar for showing wife’s face

15,000 march against country’s ‘Islamisation’ in eastern Germany

Key oil producers face uncertain outlook in 2015

Gulf stock markets tumble

Australia mourns Sydney cafe siege victims

Hostages flee as police storm Sydney café

Erdogan to EU: Mind your own business!

Syria PM in Iran for talks with key ally

22 Swiss jihadists fighting abroad

#illridewithyou: Australians stand in solidarity with Muslims

Sydney siege 'lone wolf' or IS-led attack?

EU support UN efforts for Aleppo ceasefire

Saudi policeman killed in Riyadh hostage-taking

Saudi king receives Jordan monarch

Palestinians push UN bid to end Israeli occupation