ASSERTING AUTHORITY: Coalition President Ahmad al-Jarba and FSA Chief of Staff Salim Idris held a marathon meeting Saturday with thirty commanders of brigades and battalions from across Syria.
A press release issued after the closed-door meeting indicated that the two leaders are seeking to quash impressions created by the September 24 “Aleppo Statement” in which thirteen armed groups refused to recognize the coalition’s authority.
From Right: Spokesperson of the High Council of the FSA Colonel Qasim Saad ad-Din, SNC President Ahmad al-Jarba, General of the FSA’s Chief of Staff Salim Idris in Istanbul Saturday. Photo courtesy of the Syrian National Coalition.
“Supreme Military Council leaders reaffirmed their support for the Coalition as the civil authority”, according the Coalition’s press release which added that Jarba “listened to the brigade commanders’ military plans aimed at breaking the siege on different towns and villages and liberating regime-occupied areas.”
In a separate statement, SMC spokesman Qasim Saad al-Din said all participants agreed that talks with the government were off the agenda until arrangements were made for Assad to leave his position and hold accountable the “criminals that assaulted Syrian people.”
Saad al-Din said the meeting clarified that the FSA considers the coalition as the “political umbrella for revolutionary work.”
“I don’t think this meeting was significant,” said Waleed al-Bunni, a former member of the Syrian National who tendered his resignation two days ago.
“What is needed now is the return of the Chiefs of Staff of the Free Syrian Army’s Military Command Council into the arena, and the return of the brigades which left the authority of the staff.”