Dissidents divided over army office

Dissidents divided over army office

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Dissidents divided over army office

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (c) meets with Syrian National Council delegation headed by Burhan Ghalioun (2nd L) in Istanbul March 2. Ghalioun says a military commission to provide weapons to the rebels might be based in Turkey. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

The Syrian National Council has caused an uproar among Syrian opposition factions after announcing the formation of a military commission, according to a Syrian dissident.

“The military commission will not be represented by a bureau, but members will gather in Turkey and/or some other countries,” a Syrian dissident, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the Hürriyet Daily News on March 2.

“A decision to set up a military commission was made after Qatar and Saudi Arabia offered to provide weapons to the rebels,” he said, adding that the commission would provide communication with parties that offer to financially support the arming of the Syrian opposition or directly arm the dissidents. However, the Homs Revolutionary Council announced it would “not coordinate with Burhan Ghalioun in the affairs of the Military Office” because it did not agree with its goals. The head of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Col. Riyad al-Asaad, said he had not been involved in the formation of a military council.

FSA not involved

“I don’t know about the objectives of this body,” said al-Asaad, a figurehead for the collection of army deserters and civilians who have taken up arms. “We want actions and not just talk,” he said, adding that he spoke with Ghalioun on the night of Feb. 29 but no agreement was finalized.
On March 1 the council announced the formation of a military representation that will report to its president’s office and will serve as a Defense Ministry with representatives from all factions of the armed resistance, including the FSA.

Meanwhile, Turkey has welcomed the U.N. Human Rights Council’s approval of a resolution proposed by Ankara and called on the Syrian regime to allow the U.N.’s humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, to visit the conflict-hit country. Turkey called on Syria to end all abuse and violence against civilians, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said March 2 in a written statement.

Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz defended the Syrian opposition’s activities in Turkey on March 2. “If they had not set up [a liaison office] in Turkey, they would have set it up in another country. What is better – to contribute to the peaceful solution of the problem in our neighbor or to let this be done in another country?” he told reporters in Kayseri.

Syria, dissidents, SNC, Assad