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.

 

Egypt, France agree to step up cooperation against terrorism

Syria, Russia support UN in suspending Aleppo fighting

Pope to rebuild bridges with Islamic world in Turkey visit

OPEC meets for pivotal decision on oil output

Lebanese diva Sabah passes away

Powers to push for Iran nuclear deal before new deadline

Iraqi forces, tribesmen battle IS jihadists in Ramadi

Egypt jails 78 minors for pro-Morsi protests

US slams Assad regime for ‘continued slaughter’

Regime indiscriminate strikes kill scores in Islamic State 'capital' in Syria

Putin meets with Syria Foreign Minister in Black Sea retreat of Sochi

Britain rushes to fight terror with controversial bill

Gunmen kill 3 Egypt policemen in fresh terrorist attack

Iran lawmakers finally approve third Rouhani science minister pick

Turkey clears only suspect in alleged poisoning of former president

Huthis humiliate Al-Ahmar clan with capture of Sanaa headquarters

Christians hold out in Syria second city despite Daesh threat

Libya’s Derna emerges as new IS stronghold

Egypt to reopen Rafah border crossing Wednesday

Egypt leader begins two-day trip to France

Tribesmen blow up Yemen’s main oil pipeline

Russia trims oil output

UN chief calls for halt to Libya air strikes

Syrian air strikes on Raqa kill 63 civilians

17 killed in fatal Cairo building collapse

Egypt nabs five Salafist leaders

Essebsi leads Tunisia presidential vote

Paris pushing for 'safe zones' in war-torn Syria

New air strike hits Tripoli’s sole operational airport

Pentagon chief steps down

Saudi seeks to ‘knock out’ shale oil competitors from oil market

Death toll rises from Morocco flash floods

Yemen troops free 8 hostages from Al-Qaeda

Italy hails Egypt as 'strategic partner'

US Congress skeptical of Iran nuclear talks extension

Khartoum, Darfur rebels open ceasefire talks

Time runs out for biggest chance to resolve Iran nuclear standoff

Egypt leader heads to Italy

Morocco arrests six over online IS allegiance pledge

Iraqi forces retake areas near Iran border from jihadists

Southern Morocco storms claim eight lives

Marzouki, Essebsi set for runoff in Tunisia presidential vote

Biden wraps up Turkey visit without breakthrough on Syria

Sudan launches investigation into claims of 'mass rape' in Darfur village

Assad urges ‘real pressure’ on backers of 'terror'