The opposition said the so-called Free Syrian Army has formed several
battalions assigned to fight Assad forces in central and northern Syria. The
units were identified as the Muawiya Ibn Abu Sufyan and the Abu Ubeida Bin
Jarrah, meant for deployment in the Damascus. In August, the Free Army said
it established its first battalion in the northeastern city of Homs, a
stronghold of the Sunni insurgency.
"This is a national army without partisan interests," Free Army
commander Col. Riyad Assad said.
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In a video statement, Assad, not believed to be related to the embattled
president, urged Syrians to continue peaceful
demonstrations against the regime. He pledged that the Free Army would
protect civilians from regime forces, said to have killed more than 2,300
people since March.
"We will see the fall of the regime sooner than you expected," the
opposition colonel said.
Opposition sources said hundreds of officers and soldiers defected from
the Assad regime over the last three months. They reported the latest
high-ranking defected as Col. Riyad Mussa Al Assad, an air force commander.
Al Assad said he fled his 22nd Brigade becausse of what he termed "the
repressive measures of the army against civilians."