By Siân Ruddick
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Syria: Army generals defect from Assad’s regime

This article is over 12 years, 11 months old
The Syrian resistance is organising for the next stage of the battle to defeat the government.
Issue 2259

The Syrian resistance is organising for the next stage of the battle to defeat the government.

Hundreds of thousands have taken part in demonstrations across the country.

Many of them have been met with violence by the forces of president Assad’s regime.

But this has failed to crush the movement.

And Assad has failed to restore “stability”, undermining his own position.

More and more people are joining the revolt—including significant defections from the lower ranks of the army.

An unconfirmed video appeared claiming to show a Syrian army colonel, Colonel Riyad Musa al Asa’d, calling on people to join the revolution on Tuesday of this week.

The translation says, “I declare my defection from the Arab Syria Army because of its repressive practices against civilians.

“I declare joining the Movement of Free Officers and I call on all free officers to join this revolution to help the Syrian people.”


The city of Hama has seen huge protests, pushing back security forces that have barely been seen there since June.

This changed on Monday morning when soldiers and plain clothed forces came into the city, chanting in support of Assad.

They carried out a number of arrests on the outskirts but didn’t penetrate the city centre.

In Hama, as in other areas, local committees defend the rebellion.

Groups patrol the streets to keep the people safe from government attacks.

People came out to fight back against the attacks.

Omar Habbal, an activist, said, “The whole city woke up. People here are ready with rocks.”

Many built burning barricades to hold off the troops’ advance.

But the assault has taken its toll. Some 10,000 have been arrested and 1,400 killed since the protests began in May.

And there are moves by other powers to reach a settlement.

Turkey shares a border with Syria and is far from neutral.

The last thing it wants is a revolution on its doorstep. The state wants the Syrian regime to be stabilised.

But the determination of ordinary Syrians, combined with the ongoing revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia and across the region, means they have the potential to win.

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