October 10, 2011
The most senior officer to defect from Syria’s armed forces is plotting a series of guerrilla attacks and targeted assassinations from self-imposed exile in Turkey in an attempt to topple the regime.
Colonel Riad al-As’aad, 50, is the head of a newly formed Syrian Free Army – a force made up of defectors from the Syrian military – devoted to overthrowing the regime of Bashar al-Assad by military force in apparent connivance with his Turkish protectors. “They [the regime] forced us to respond,” he told The Independent. “We are organised inside. We are soldiers, we are working. Our power is slowly growing.”
Colonel As’aad said that he co-ordinates daily with officers on the ground through intermediaries moving between Syria and Turkey.