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.

 

Saudi mosque attack intended to fan sectarian tension

Israeli deputy FM: 'All of it is ours'

Obama offers Tunisia closer security ties

IS fighters attack Iraq forces east of Ramadi

Israel solicits Platini to sway FIFA

Sudan's Islamists protest against el-Sisi

Islamic State claims Saudi mosque bombing

Islamic State reinforces ‘caliphate’ with control of borders

Iraqi forces to launch Ramadi offensive

Tunis asks Rome to extradite terror suspect

Suicide bomb attack on Saudi Shiite mosque

Saudi-led coalition warplanes pound Sanaa outskirts

Shebab gunmen raid Kenya village

Kuwait businessman Khorafi dies at 75

Yemen air strikes continue as Iran calls for talks

Israeli court orders release of Khalida Jarrar

Netanyahu meets with Arab leader Ayman Odeh

U.S. sanctions two companies linked to Iran's plane purchases

Iran supports Yemen talks, denounces foreign interference

IS militants call for attacks on Egypt's judges

11 killed in fresh Libya violence

Assad regime losses in Syria

Obama looks to bolster Tunisia's democratic gains

Turkey opposition unveils plan to build new 'mega-city' in Anatolia

Iraqi prime minister seeks Russian support against Islamic State

Iraq's Sunni tribes feel distrust towards Baghdad after Ramadi fall

Morocco illegal migrant arrest fuels Italy row

Qatar ‘failing to deliver’ on promised labour reforms

US to sell bombs, missiles to Israel, helicopters to Saudis

IS jihadists in full control of Syria's Palmyra

Yemen government wants rebel pullback before joining Geneva talks

Morocco King names four new ministers in second reshuffle

Gaza reconstruction going ‘far more slowly than expected’

France kills two jihadist chiefs in Sahel region

Clashes with ‘Islamic State’ rage on near Libya city of Sirte

Protests in Tunisia phosphate-producing region intensify

Iran aid ship to dock in Djibouti for inspection

Israel to face FIFA suspension bid

Letters of Bin Laden reveal accurate fear of surveillance

Yemen talks to open May 28 in Geneva

‘Islamic State’ fighters take control of Palmyra northern sector

Palestinian driver shot by Israeli police

New Egypt justice minister sworn in after judge's gaffe

IS, Syria regime locked in fierce battles near Palmyra

Rajoub: Conditions not ready for Israel-Palestine "match for peace"