Syria rebel chiefs back, forth to Turkey’s soil

By: İpek Yezdani

ISTANBUL, Turkey – The leaders of Syrian armed rebels, Free Syrian Army, have not returned to Syria unlike they claimed so earlier, but travel back and forth to Syria from Turkey, according to Syrian National Council members.

A mortar bomb fired by Syria, which is trying to retake Tal Abyad from rebel forces, hits Akçakale border town in southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, injuring three.

Different members of the Syrian opposition, who spoke on condition of anonymity, have claimed leaders of the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) have not returned to Syria as was claimed by the FSA leadership, but travel back and forth to Syria from Turkey.

“The leaders of the FSA, Colonel Riad al-Asaad and General Mustafa al-Seyh had gone to Syria for one day and the next day they returned to Turkey. The fighters on the ground don’t care about their leadership, this is why they are all in Turkey now,” a prominent member of the SNC told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview on Sept. 28.

On Sept. 22 the FSA announced it had moved its command center from Turkey to “liberated areas” inside Syria. A video posted on YouTube appeared to show the leader of the FSA, al-Asaad, confirming the move.

No power in Syria

In the video al-Asaad did not say when the move took place, or where in Syria the FSA’s new headquarters were. However, last week Brigader General Mustafa al-Sheikh of the FSA’s military council told the Associated Press that the FSA’s move into Syria was made the previous week and “aimed to unite all rebel groups.”

A prominent member of the SNC said the commanders of the FSA based in the Apaydın camp of southern city of Hatay in Turkey don’t have any power or existence in Syria.

“The fighters in Syria don’t recognize them as their leaders, there are different groups in Syria and they recognize the leader of their own brigade as their leaders. For instance the rebels in Aleppo listen to the orders of the regional FSA leader, Abdulcabbar Agadi, not the leaders in Turkey,” an SNC member said.

“The leader of FSA Colonel al-Asaad, leader of the FSA’s military council Gen. al-Seyh and several other leaders went to Syria but came back the following day,” he said.

Another member of the Syrian opposition, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, also said the commanders of the FSA were still based in Turkey. “Sometimes the commanders of the FSA go back and forth to Syria through illegal ways. Some of them had pictures and videos taken in Syria to show that they were also fighting inside Syria. However, most of them are still based in Hatay,” he said. The Turkish Foreign Ministry was unable to comment on the issue when the Daily News went to print.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News

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