BEIRUT, (Reuters) – The rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) has moved its leadership from Turkey to parts of Syria that are now controlled by rebels, the FSA Commander-in-Chief said on Saturday.
The FSA has been based in Turkey for more than a year as fighters on the ground have struggled to battle forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Although rebels are now in control of large swathes of the country, they face aerial and artillery attack from Assad’s forces.
“The leadership of the FSA has entered the liberated areas (of Syria) after the success of the plan that the FSA has worked on with other battalions and units in order to safeguard the free areas,” Colonel Riad al-Asaad said in a video statement.
The FSA is the most prominent of several armed groups fighting to overthrow Assad.
Despite calling for Assad to step down, the West is wary of arming disparate rebel groups. Western diplomats say they are looking for signs that the rebels have a clear chain of command within Syria.
Activists say more than 27,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the 18-month-old revolt in Syria,.