Main base in Turkey, says rebel Free Syrian Army

Main base in Turkey, says rebel Free Syrian Army

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Main base in Turkey, says rebel Free Syrian Army

A Free Syrian Army (FSA) member fires an AK-47 rifle at Syrian Army soldiers as his friends celebrate during clashes in Syria’s northwest city of Aleppo. REUTERS photo

The main base of the Free Syrian Army is in the southern province of Hatay, according to the contact section of a website claiming to be the official online mouthpiece of the rebel forces.

“The Free Syrian Army is considered the main opposition army group in Syria. It is composed of [people who have defected from the] Syrian Armed Forces,” said a statement on the website, which has been active since April.

The Hatay Governor’s Office, however, told the Hürriyet Daily News that they were unaware of the situation.

An official who claimed to be a member of the group, Ismail Sheikh Salih, confirmed to the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday that a contact number provided on the website belonged to the militant opposition army and that the group had an office in Hatay.


Leaders of the Free Syrian Army are seen In this
image taken from the group’s website.
The main base of the group is in Hatay,
writes in the contact section (inset) of the site.

The rapid increase in the number of Syrians fleeing from ongoing violence has raised many problems in connection with the hosting of refugees as residents living in the host cities of refugee camps have begun to reveal their discontent.

The leader of the group is Col. Riad al-Asaad, whose last known residence was a refugee camp in Hatay. He escaped from his post in the Syrian Air Force in July 2011. On the website, al-Asaad is introduced as the commander-in-chief of the militant group. The group also has social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook, while the news section is updated nearly every day.

The group states that it has never been part of any militia or other military force that has battled or risen up against the al-Assad regime for the sake of any gain, material or otherwise. Although the embattled president has consistently said his forces are battling “terrorists,” he does not explicitly refer to the Free Syrian Army.