Sunday, September 9, 2012
Colonel Riad al-Assad, the leader of the Free Syrian Army, says the new opposition organisation harms the cause.
AN IMPORTANT PIECE
"Colonel Riad al-Assad, the leader of the Free Syrian Army, told Al Jazeera in a phone interview from Hatay, Turkey, that he was not pleased about the news that a new organisation was being setup in Turkey to unify Syrian fighters.
He is not pleased and says this is an attempt to sideline what he called the "real resistance" inside Syria.
"This new organisation calls themselves the Syrian National Army. The emergence of this group only works to hurt the national sentiment amongst our ranks.
"A meeting took place in Turkey attended by the French ambassador here. Initially I was not invited but later on they invited me. This meeting was not constructive.
"Our voice was not heard. We tried to unify our ranks. We are in favour of unity. But the goal of this meeting is not unity but an attempt to sideline the real people behind this uprising. Sideline those who have sacrificed their own lives since the start of the revolution.
"Every time a group inside Syria defects from the regime they then want to take the leadership of the free Syrian army and this leads the public to believe that we are not united.
"We in the free Syrian army don't control all units on the ground and this a reality we all have to deal with and accept. This is the nature of the conflict.
"We are not sure who called this meeting. But a senior military figure based in Jordan attended [Manaf Tlass??]. Members of the Syrian national council was also present alongside the French ambassador here and 40 Syrian officers. Only one officer from inside Syria attended and he claimed to represent Syrians inside Syria. And that is not true.
"In a dictatorial fashion and total arrogance I was told that this project has been decided upon and that we should just follow order and join ranks.
"We left an oppressive Syria when we defected. So why should we now accept being bullied by some foreign countries.
"The free Syrian army is now known by all inside and outside Syria. Even children recognise our name. We reject any change in the name of the free Syrian army.
"The Syrian people rose up against oppression on their own and without anybody's help. They people took their own initiative and made up their own will to rise up.
"So now we don’t want anyone from the outside to impose on their orders.""