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FSA secures defection of entire battalion – FSA | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – Free Syrian Army [FSA] spokesman Colonel Khalid al-Hammoud informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “203 soldiers have defected from the regime, including 3 officers from the al-Qatifa area, which is close al-Qalamoun in the Rif Dimashq Governorate.”

He added “these defections took place after this operation was intensively pursued by FSA officers, convincing the entire battalion to leave the al-Assad army.”

The FSA spokesman revealed that “the battalion was subject to confrontation and bombardment by the Syrian army, with al-Assad regime forces targeting them with mortar strikes, resulting in the deaths of 5 soldiers…others were able to flee – with all of their equipment – by marching through orchards and farms, and they have joined the FSA.”

He added “roles were given to the three officers as well as the soldiers, and they will begin military operations to weaken the Syrian regime’s security apparatus.”

FSA Colonel Khalid al-Hammoud described this defection as a “great achievement” for the FSA, adding that the FSA is still working hard to convince regime soldiers to defect from the al-Assad regime and join its ranks. He added “officers from Idlib and Homs have also defected, and this will be announced in the near future.”

The FSA spokesman also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “the FSA is now present in all governorates and regions of Syria” adding “the ongoing defections from the Syrian army is an indication that the pillars of the Syrian army are beginning to crumble.” He stressed that “this will weaken the Syrian regime, which strongly depends on the military.”

He also asserted that “the defections, which has included prominent army officers as well as soldiers, will inevitably lead to the Libyan scenario, and in the end only a minority of the army, belonging to the Alawite sect that is known to be loyal to the al-Assad regime, will remain, and this includes the 4th Armored Division and the Republican Guard which take their orders directly from the president’s brother, Maher al-Assad.”

FSA Colonel Khalid al-Hammoud also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the reason behind the failure of our attempts to increase the rate of defections is sectarian loyalty and the sectarianism present in the Syrian army, in addition to fears of criminal prosecution from the al-Assad regime” although he did stress that “defections continue to take place.”

He added “the Syrian regime has committed a grave mistake by involving the army in the killing of protesters, opening fire on the unarmed Syrian people.”

For his part, spokesman for the Local Coordination Committee in Damascus, Mohamed Said, informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the on-going defections represents a “victory” for the Syrian revolution, and a motivation for the Syrian opposition activists and soldiers to topple the al-Assad regime. He also stressed the “necessity of on-going work to convince more soldiers to defect from the regime” adding “defections serve to encourage the revolution to stand firm and continue to pursue the liberation of Syrian soil from the al-Assad regime.” The Local Coordination Committee spokesman also called on Syrian soldiers to defect from the brutal al-Assad regime and join the ranks of the Syrian revolution in defense of the unarmed Syrian people.