The commander of the Free Syrian Army said Saturday that the rebel command centre had been moved from Turkey to an undisclosed location in Syria. The announcement came as regime checkpoints came under fire from insurgents in northern Syria.
The main Syrian insurgent group announced on Saturday that their command centre had been transferred from Turkey to “liberated areas” inside Syria. The commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Col. Riad al-Asaad, issued a video titled “Free Syrian Army Communique Number 1 from Inside” confirming the move without specifying the command centre’s new location.
“The transfer will allow the command centre to be closer to the fighters,” General Mustafa al-Sheikh, head of the military council grouping rebel chiefs, told AFP.
Insurgents have recently consolidated their hold on a swathe of rural territories in northern Syria, but rebel positions remain vulnerable to attacks from Syrian helicopters and MIG jets.
The FSA announcement came as rebel fighters went on the offensive in Aleppo’s Om and Kaf Jum regions, targeting several regime checkpoints. At least 11 Syrian troops and five rebel fighters were killed there, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“The state has no presence except for military and administrative posts” in the western region of the province in northern Syria, Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told the AFP news agency.
He said the regime was determined to prevent rebels linking up between western Aleppo and the neighbouring province of Idlib as this would form an extensive insurgent-held region on the border with Turkey, which supports the revolt in Syria.
Border clashes in Lebanon
Heavy clashes were also reported on the border between Syria and Lebanon, fuelling fears that the fighting in the Syrian civil war could spill into neighbouring countries.
The Lebanese military said that one its border post had been attacked by “a large number of Syrian rebels” on Friday night, without causing any casualty.
“Army reinforcements were dispatched to the area and began to pursue the gunmen, who fled after the attack towards the mountains and several border towns and villages” inside Lebanon, the military said in an official communique.
The opposition Syrian National Council warned on Friday that the deadly conflict which broke out in March 2011 was reaching “a point of extreme gravity” that could trigger higher levels of extremism in neighbouring states.
The conflict could lead to “a catastrophic situation, with more extremism and damage also in neighbouring countries,” SNC head Abdel Basset Sayda told reporters in Rome.
According to the Observatory, at least 29,000 people have been killed since the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule erupted.