Syrian army near collapse, rebels say

2012-02-03 22:28

Beirut - The Syrian army is slowly disintegrating as troop morale plummets and more soldiers defect to join rebels fighting a regime crackdown against dissent, a spokesperson for the Free Syrian Army said on Friday.

"The regular army is in a pitiful state and getting close to collapsing," said Major Maher Nouaimi, who is based with the FSA in Turkey, in a telephone interview.

"Even though the army has huge military capabilities, soldiers no longer have the will to fight or are ready to do so."

Nouaimi said there was also growing discontent among officers and the rank and file against army commanders, who are largely drawn from President Bashar Assad's Alawite community, an off-shoot of Shiite Islam.

Most of the conscripts in the military are from Syria's majority Sunni Muslim community.

A growing number have been defecting and joining the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as the 11-month government crackdown on a popular revolt continues.

An estimated 6 000 people have died in the bloodshed, according to rights groups.

"In the last 24 hours many defections have taken place in all of the provinces where there is unrest," Nouaimi said. "Some involve one soldier and others a whole group."

Nouaimi said several soldiers defected on Friday in the southern province of Daraa where nine regime troops were killed in clashes with the FSA.

He said in many instances dissident soldiers have literally had to fight their way out, braving checkpoints by security forces to escape.

Nouaimi added that young men over the age of 18 were also no longer reporting for their compulsory military service.

"This is a sign of defeat for the army," he said.

Although heavily outnumbered and outgunned, the Free Syrian Army has increasingly launched bold attacks against regime forces and managed to seize control of some neighbourhoods of the central flashpoint town of Homs.

The FSA claims to have about 40 000 members, including defectors and sympathisers.

Read more on:    bashar assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings

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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
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.