Syrian rebel leader returns to reconcile Islamist fighters

By REUTERS
September 26, 2013 19:11
1 minute read.

 
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ISTANBUL - The head of the opposition Syrian Supreme Military Council cut short a visit to France on Thursday and said he would head to Syria for talks with rebel brigades that broke with the Western-backed coalition.

General Salim Idris, who commands the coalition's military wing known as the Free Syrian Army (FSA), said he would travel to Syria on Friday to meet fighters from the 13 groups which rejected on Tuesday the authority of the Turkey-based coalition.

The rebel groups, including at least three considered to be under the FSA umbrella, called on Tuesday for the rebel forces to be reorganized under an Islamic framework and to be run only by groups fighting inside Syria.

"We should deal wisely with their statement. I returned from France so as to follow up with the field commanders and work toward unifying all the ranks," Idriss told Reuters by telephone after arriving in Istanbul.

FSA spokesman Louay Meqdad said Idriss hoped to solve the grievances of the dissident rebels, who have long been wary of accepting leadership by figures who have spent much of Syria's two-and-a-half-year civil war outside the country.

"He will meet the brigades that rejected the coalition who are losing hope," Meqdad said. "The coalition maybe were not connected to the ground but now they will communicate and try to resolve this."


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