Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Free Syrian Army changes military chief

The Western-backed Syrian opposition forces, the Free Syrian Army, have dismissed their military chief. It's an apparent move to restructure their organization and battle capability.

The FSA's supreme military council said in a statement on Monday that General Salim Idris was replaced by Brigadier General Abdelilah al-Bashir.

Idris became the FSA's military chief in late 2012 and has commanded operations and weapons supplies for them. But he has been criticized in the FSA for his ineffectiveness.

The FSA is part of the Western-backed opposition National Coalition. But it recently lost battles to government forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

The secular group, composed of army defectors and civic volunteers, has also been facing rampant infighting with militant Islamic rebels linked to Al-Qaeda.

Bashir previously took charge of the FSA's operations in the province of Quneitra, neighboring the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

No prospect is in sight for the peace in the civil war in Syria after recent talks in Switzerland between the government and the opposition stopped without major progress.