Senior ex-army commander shares knowledge with FSA

Senior ex-army commander shares knowledge with FSA

Serkan Ocak ALEPPO - Radikal
Senior ex-army commander shares knowledge with FSA

RADİKAL photo, Serkan OCAK

A senior commander who defected from the Syrian army to join the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is now using his knowledge of heavy weapons and military training for the opposition.

“Three months ago, I was ordered to shoot a civilian residence area in one of the districts of Aleppo. Then I was ordered to bomb Azaz and the whole city. I never bombed [these places], and objected to the decision saying that I would not hit civilians. The intelligence service questioned me. I met with the brigadier general. They bought me a ticket for Damascus and said that I had been ‘called for a duty,’ which meant they would put me in jail. I received my ticket and escaped,” Maj. Muhammed Ebu Tevfik said.

Tevfik, who had previously trained military officers in the Syrian army’s artillery unit, now uses his knowledge of highly destructive arms such as tanks and cannons for the opposition. Tevfik also planned the operations to be held in critical points of Aleppo.

“I’d rather die than bomb my people,” Tevfik said. “I knew they would shoot me if I was caught.”
He said there was a great distinction between Sunnis and Alevis in the army. “Seventy-five percent of Sunni officers fled, and 20 percent of the rest are under arrest. Twenty days ago, an instruction was given to al-Assad’s military units ordering them ‘not to have close contact with the opposition, but to shoot them from a distance.’ With cannons coming from China, they are shooting Aleppo and Selahaddin,” Tevfik said.

“Currently each cannon [in the Syria army] has the capacity to destroy a two-story building. The Syrian army is in a panic. Many officers fled, so did the soldiers,” Tevfik said about the Syrian army’s heavy weapons. Tevfik pointed out that al-Assad had the power to destroy Aleppo, and was sending many soldiers in the northern and southern regions of the city.

“[Al-Assad] will certainly attack [Aleppo]. But soldiers are required to use his power. The soldiers are demoralized. They are using helicopters and substitute tanks coming from Russia,” he said, adding that he had read the plans for the civil war in the military, and al-Assad’s forces would mostly hit the cities with jets. “They will first shoot from a distance, then enter [the cities] by land. The opponents are true street fighters, thus al-Assad will lose then,” he said.

“We don’t have so many heavy weapons. But we are carrying on our preparations with anti-aircraft [weapons] and RPGs,” Tevfik said, adding that al-Assad forces would not attack one point, but everywhere.

“Power balances are different. But we believe that we will win the war. When Aleppo falls, the war will follow to a great extent. We will win or die. We don’t have another chance,” Tevfik said. He also said he resented the officers who fled to Turkey, and criticized Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass, who came to Turkey and held negotiations, claiming that he tried to save his own life when he saw the power of the Free Syrian Army. “He is the man of that regime, after all. He is the commander of the Special Forces, a murderer. He carried out a massacre,” Tevfik said. Tevfik also said they wanted weapons from Turkey.