Syrian opposition bold in face of Damascus retreat

Commander of Free Syria Army says Assad has lost about half of Syrian territory to rebels; 40 killed throughout country.

February 1, 2012 19:53
2 minute read.
Free Syria Army

Free Syria Army_390. (photo credit: Reuters)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


About half of Syrian territory is no longer under control of the regime of President Bashar Assad, the commander of the Free Syria Army said Wednesday according to Al Arabiya.

Riyadh Al-Asaad, the effective commander of the army of Syrian defectors and rebel activists, said that the Free Syria Army could not completely control any specific zone, fearing the destructive response of the Syrian regime.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Asaad's bold proclamation conflicted with reports earlier this week that Syrian forces had driven rebels out of areas in and around the capital Damascus.

The Syrian Revolution General Commission, the centralized organization of opposition groups, said that at least 40 people were gunned down by Assad's forces on Wednesday, after 45 people were killed on Tuesday when the Syrian army battled rebels in-and-around Damascus.

Of the 40 killed on Wednesday, 23 died in the region surrounding the capital in gun battles and bombings by the Syrian army, Al Jazeera reported.

At least 11 died in Homs, four in the southern city of Deraa, and one in the northern cities of Hama and Idlib, according to the report.

Still, Syrian defectors remained optimistic despite their setbacks.


Click for full JPost coverage

In interviews with Reuters this past week over shaky phone and Internet connections from covert frontline bases, the mood among rebel forces sounded upbeat, despite what they called a "tactical retreat" from the threshold of Damascus and a serious pounding by Assad's artillery against fighters in the north.

"We need to make our own Benghazi," one FSA officer, a former lieutenant-colonel in Assad's army who uses the cover name Abu Thaer, told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location, referring to the Libyan rebel capital during the ultimately successful uprising there.

"If there were a buffer- or no-fly-zone, there would be a string of army defections," he said. "The picture would change 180 degrees."

For some observers, the FSA's encroachment on the capital has given it new credibility.

"It's getting stronger and becoming a stronger part of the opposition and a real force on the ground," said Andrew Tabler of the Washington Institute for Near East Studies. "That doesn't mean it can overturn the state, but it certainly is challenging it."

Reuters contributed to this report

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

A general view of the attack during the military parade in Ahvaz, Iran, 2018
September 22, 2018
Dozens killed in Iran terror attack, Zarif blames US and regional rivals