London, Asharq Al-Awsat- a number of officers in the Syrian Army announced their defection from the army and formation of the “Free Syrian Army.”
Colonel Riyad al-Asad called on all officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the army to defect immediately from the army, abandon their military units, and join the “Free Syrian Army.”
In a statement in a video footage that was posted on YouTube, Al-Asad said: “The Syrian Army now represents only the gangs that protect the regime.”
He added that from the time the statement was published, the security forces that kill civilians and besiege cities will be considered legitimate targets that will be targeted all over the Syrian territories.
Flanked by seven officers, Al-Asad began his statement with a tribute to civilian and military martyrs “who fell at the hand of betrayal and treachery by the regime’s agencies and criminal gangs.”
He said: “Proceeding from our nationalistic sense, our loyalty to this people, our sense of the current need for conclusive decisions to stop this regime’s massacres that cannot be tolerated any longer, and proceeding from the army’s responsibility to protect this unarmed free people, we announce the formation of the free Syrian army to work hand in hand with the people to achieve freedom and dignity to bring this regime down, protect the revolution and the country’s resources, and stand in the face of the irresponsible military machine that protects the regime.”
Al-Asad called on whom he described as “the Syrian Army’s many honorable officers, non-commissioned officers, and men” to “immediately defect from the army, stop pointing their rifles at their people’s chests, join the free army, and form a national army that can protect the revolution and all sections of the Syrian people with all their sects.”
Al-Asad emphasized: “As of now, the security forces that kill civilians and besiege cities will be treated as legitimate targets. We will target them in all parts of the Syrian territories without exception.”
Al-Asad appealed to all personnel of the army “to stand on the side of the people and their revolution and abandon their military units.” He said: “These units no longer represent the Syrian Army. Rather, they represent gangs that protect the regime.”
Al-Asad appealed to the Syrian people to inform their sons who are in the military “of what is truly happening in Syria because the criminal regime has isolated them from the communication means and the media.”
Al-Asad said that the military do not know the truth of what is being said to them about the existence of armed gangs in all the areas that they enter. He noted that the regime uses this pretext “to stir the emotion of the military, so that they may carry out very brutal acts of killing, and to give some people in Syria and the international community a false impression that there are armed gangs”
Also, Al-Asad called on the Syrian opposition both at home and abroad to unite and stay away from disagreements until freedom is achieved and a “free national democratic regime” established.
Then he announced the formation of the free army, consisting of the officers who appeared with him in the video footage. They are: Colonel Riyad al-Asad as an interim commander of the army, Colonel Ahmad Hijazi as deputy army commander, Commander of the Hamza al-Khatib Battalion Lieutenant Colonel Abdul-Sattar Yunsu, Commander of the Al-Hurriyah Battalion Captain Ibrahim Majbur, Commander of the Salah-aldin Captain Ala-al-Din, Commander of the Al-Qashush Battalion Captain Ayham al-Kurdi, Captain Qays, First Lieutenant Taysir Yusuf, First Lieutenant Ahmad al-Khalaf, and Lieutenant Mazin al-Zir.