Flee Syria Army

Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat — The ongoing struggle within the ranks of Syria’s rebels escalated this week as the Free Syrian Army (FSA) accused the newly formed Islamic Front of carrying out a raid on its bases and warehouses near the Turkish border.

In exclusive comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, a senior FSA Supreme Military Council official speaking anonymously accused the Islamic Front, a new coalition comprised of seven major Islamist rebel groups fighting in Syria, of carrying out a “complete coup” against the FSA’s Chiefs of Staff, headed by General Salim Idris.

He added that the Islamic Front, which some analysts believe now represents the strongest unified rebel force on the ground in Syria, is operating with the support of “some regional countries.”

“The FSA warehouses are now empty after they were occupied and their contents were stolen, including Salim Idris’s own office,” the FSA officer said. He claimed that Commander Abu Al-Nur of Ahrar Al-Sham led the operation.

He said that the Islamic Front raided a total of ten warehouses belonging to the Western-backed umbrella group and seized a significant arsenal of weaponry, including 2,000 AK-47 rifles, 1,000 assorted arms—including M79 Osa rocket launchers, rocket-propelled grenades, and 14.5mm heavy machine guns—in addition to more than 200 tons of ammunition. At least 100 FSA military vehicles were also taken in the attack.

Islamic Front military spokesman Captain Islam Alloush denied responsibility, accusing “unknown groups” of being responsible for raiding the FSA base and stealing their equipment.

The FSA officer said: “The claims made by the Islamic Front and Ahrar Al-Sham that they came to protect the warehouses at the request of the FSA Chiefs of Staff is a lie.”

According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “after combat that lasted all night, fighters from the Islamic Front captured a [FSA] general staff position near the Bab El-Hawa border crossing [with Turkey] and seized their arms depots.”

The observatory added that five fighters had been killed in the battle, but did not specify whether they were members of the FSA or the Islamic Front.

FSA spokesman Luay Al-Miqdad told Reuters that the Islamic Front had replaced the FSA flag over the base with one of their own.

The senior FSA officer described what happened as a “conspiracy against the Syrian people being funded by known states.”

He said: “After the [Islamic Front] leaders failed to control the FSA chiefs of staff at meetings in Istanbul last month, they are now carrying out a coup against the FSA on the ground.”

He added that “120 million US dollars in humanitarian assistance was expected to reach the Syrian people, but this was frozen due to the Islamic Front attack.”

12 Comments

  1. General Salim Idris immediately fled to Qatar.

    Qatar backs the Islamic Front.

    ….. hmmm.

    Sounds like Idris made them a deal on some US provided weapons.

    …. which he was probably never intending to use anyway.

    …. which we probably knew all along.

  2. Assad should now offer a deal with the FSA to join him to crush the Islamic Front. They could be offered some cushy government jobs in the post war administration.
    However RT you may well be right and this has been a scam all along. I read the other day that the Islamic Front have an Osama Bin Laden brigade. I feel the West has missed an historic opportunity to unite these warring factions, get them all together in one place and totally annihilate them in a surprise thermobaric air strike.

  3. Good, bad, right, wrong or what is allowed has nothing to do with it. It is what ever best serves our national interests and security. Funny I am so brainwashed by the politically correct progressive I feel guilty admitting what other nations don’t have to admit because it is a given.

  4. I was just surprised that the BBC thought this was newsworthy …..of course the Iranians are helping Assad, they’re his friends.

  5. best serves our national interests and security.

    I would say a contained, open ended conflict that pits the Iranians and Hezbollah against GCC supported Sunni Jihadis best serves our national interests and security.

    Unfortunately, this one has become a little too low level for my tastes. There’s only a small trickle of Iranian casualties returning home …… many of them with their heads still attached to their bodies. Its not really bleeding Iranian resources on the scale one would hope for. Hardly any Turks are dying ….. The house of Saud is not engulfed in flames …… lets hope they step it up in 2014.

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