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13 April 2024

Top Syria army defector to set up high military council


A top Syrian army defector will announce later on Saturday the creation of a high military council that will oversee military operations against the embattled regime of Bashar al-Assad, his media advisor told AFP.

General Mostafa Ahmad al-Sheikh, the most senior commander to defect from the Syrian army, will make the announcement in Turkey, where he sought refuge earlier this month, Fahad Almasri said in a telephone interview.

"This council, headed by Sheikh, will oversee military operations in conjunction with the Free Syrian Army," Almasri said.

"The council will include high-ranking officers who will plan operations to be executed by the FSA," he added. "It will also help organise defections within the army and will be in contact with officers in the regular army to encourage large-scale rather than individual defections."

The FSA, which groups Syrian army deserters, claims to have some 40,000 fighters under its command.

The government crackdown against the 10-month popular revolt in Syria has left more than 5,000 people dead according to the United Nations.