Free Syrian Army fires military chief

2014-02-17 10:38
Chief commander of the Free Syrian Army Brigadier General Selim Idriss speaking during a press confrence at the EU Parliament in Brussels. (John Thys, AFP)

Chief commander of the Free Syrian Army Brigadier General Selim Idriss speaking during a press confrence at the EU Parliament in Brussels. (John Thys, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beirut - The rebel Free Syrian Army said on Sunday it had fired Selim Idriss as its military chief, citing the "difficulties faced by the Syrian revolution" in its battle with the government.

In a video broadcast on the Internet, the rebel coalition said its military council had decided to replace Idriss with Brigadier General Abdel al-Ilah al-Bachir.

Colonel Qassem Saadeddine said the decision was taken due to "the paralysis within the military command these past months" and the need to "restructure".

A source inside the Syrian opposition told AFP that Idriss - who was appointed to the role in December 2012 - had faced criticism for failings on the battlefield.

These included "errors and carelessness in combat" and "poor distribution of weapons" among the rebels on the ground, the source said.

He is also accused of distancing himself from "the concerns of the insurgents".

The group's new leader Al-Bachir is the head of the military council in the southern province of Quneitra. He deserted the regular army in 2012.

According to the FSA Facebook page, Al-Bachir's son was killed in fighting at the beginning of the year.

Considered the "moderate" rebel group, the Western-backed FSA was once the country's strongest armed opposition force but is now increasingly marginalised by Islamists.

It has been weakened by internal rifts and by competition from other rebel coalitions such as the Islamic Front, a powerful alliance formed last year that is now the largest rebel force with tens of thousands of fighters.

In December the United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to the FSA, dealing a major blow to a group that appears caught between advancing government forces and the increasingly unified Islamists.

The move came after the Islamic Front - which has said it wants to set up an Islamic state in Syria - seized weapons warehouses from the FSA.

Failed talks

The FSA's decision to replace Idriss comes after peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition in Geneva ended without reaching any results, throwing the future of the negotiations to end the bloody conflict into doubt.

Britain, France and the United States, which back the uprising against the Syrian government and have regularly called for President Bashar Assad to stand down, have blamed the Syrian government for sinking the talks.

However Damascus insists the talks did not fail and that "important progress" was made, despite the rivals appearing further apart than ever.

The opposition has insisted that the focus of the talks must be on creating a transitional government, without Assad.

The government representatives have meanwhile stubbornly insisted that Assad's position is non-negotiable.

The so-called Geneva II process was initiated by the United States, which backs the Syrian opposition coalition, and Moscow, which supports the government.

No date has been set for a third round of talks.

Syria's uprising began as a series of peaceful pro-democracy protests in March 2011, but a government crackdown ignited a full-blown civil war in which hardline Islamist groups have taken on an increasingly prominent role.

More than 140 000 people have been killed in three years of fighting, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Read more on:    un  |  fsa  |  syrian observatory for human rights  |  bashar assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

It may be hard to maintain a steady rhythm as you find yourself juggling a zillion things. Slow down a little and let go of more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.