Free Syrian Army Forms Damascus Military Council (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Gavriel Queenann 03/22/12)
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The Free Syrian Army on Thursday formed a military council to
coordinate operations around Damascus as it brings the year-old
conflict to the capital.
“I, Colonel Khaled Mohammed al-Hammud, announce the creation of the
Military Council for Damascus and the region that will be in charge
of FSA operations in this region,” an army deserter said in a video
posted to the Internet.
He invited other “noble officers still in the ranks of Bashar’s army”
to join the rebel force, referring to President Bashar al-Assad.
Ahmad al-Khatib – calling himself a rebel spokesman for the Damascus
area – told AFP the council “represents a unified leadership for
deserters from the army to reassure those supporting the FSA.”
Over 20,000 army defectors armed as light infantry have been put on
the defensive and forced out of the cities since March due to the
superior firepower of Assad´s forces.
Rebels have turned to swift hit-and-run raids, with Damascus, which
has seen little bloodshed to date, becoming a key target in the past
Their ability to strike not only across the country – but in the
capital as well – has raised questions about the solvency of Assad´s
government despite its recent victories.
Fighting Rages On
Also Thursday, a 17-year-old boy was killed and dozens wounded in an
army assault on the town of Sermin in the northwestern province of
Idlib on the border with Turkey.
In the south, rebel fighters killed a soldier and wounded four others
near the village of Saida in Dera´a province, where Syria´s year-old
revolt against the regime erupted.
The London-based Observatory for Human Rights reported several people
wounded as regime forces opened fire with heavy machine guns in the
Arbaeen district of Hama city in central Syria.
In Deir Ezzor province, Assad´s troops searched the town of Quriyeh
for rebels, making 10 arrests, including four members of the same
Last week, a series of massacres were reported as the death toll from
Assad’s brutal crackdown reached at least 8,000, according to United
Nations Human Rights officials.
For over a month reports of mop up operations in fallen rebel
strongholds by Assad’s forces – including the rape, torture, and mass
execution of civilians – have become increasingly common.
UN Chief Implores Assad
Meanwhile, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Thursday he hoped a new
statement approved by the Security Council on the Syria crisis would
provide a “turning point” in efforts to bring fighting in Syria to an
Ban was referring to a presidential statement from the world body´s
15-member Security Council demanding Syria “immediately” implement a
peace plan proposed by his predecessor, U.N. and Arab League envoy
“As the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate, it is more
urgent than ever to find a solution,” Ban said during a speech in
“I hope that this strong and united action by the Council will mark a
turning point in the international community’s response to the
crisis,” he said.
“In clear and unmistakable terms, the Security Council called for an
immediate end to all violence and human rights violations,” he
said. “It demanded secure humanitarian access and a comprehensive
political dialogue between the government and the whole spectrum of
the Syrian opposition.”
Presidential statements from the U.N. Security Council are considered
significant, but are nevertheless non-binding. Wednesday´s statement
alluded to potential international action if Assad does not comply,
but observers say action remains highly unlikely.
Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, has
billions in oil and weapons contracts tied to Assad´s regime. It has
consistently shielded Syria from universal condemnation, sanctions,
and suggestions of military intervention. (IsraelNationalNews © 2012
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