Syrian Colonel Claims Defection, Warns Regime


A Syrian army colonel said on Saturday that he has defected with "hundreds" of soldiers and warned the regime against launching a crackdown on the eastern oil hub of Deir al-Zour.

The man, identifying himself as Colonel Riad al-Asaad, said in a telephone call to Agence France Presse in Nicosia that he was speaking from inside Syria "near the Turkish border."

"I am the commander of the Syrian Free Army," he said.

"We are hundreds," he added of the number of troops under his command.

The claim could not be independently verified.

But the caller warned the Syrian regime against carrying out any security operations in Deir al-Zour, where activists said a massive military convoy, including tanks, deployed on Saturday.

"I warn the Syrian authorities that I will send my troops to fight with the (regular) army if they do not stop the operations in Deir al-Zour," Al-Asaad said.

Earlier the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights based in Britain said soldiers shot dead three stone-throwers as a convoy of 60 military vehicles made its way towards Deir al-Zour.

Rami Abdel Rahman, quoting witness in the city, said the troops deployed in Deir al-Zour, with some of them taking positions near the offices of the governor.

Deir al-Zour is at the forefront of more than four months of anti-regime protests and scene of a deadly crackdown by the Syrian authorities against dissent.

Comments 4
Default-user-icon sacre (Guest) 9 years

I have read this important news Friday night. My source was "Syria Comment " (find it on Google) under the leadership of a Joshua Landis. This gentleman is not objective because his wife is an Alawite and himself is an admirer of Bashar.
Questions :
Why did it take Naharnet about 20 hours to publish this news?
Is it because of censorship? (self imposed or other )
Is it because Naharnet believes that Mr. Landis is not reliable?
Or is it because Naharnet thinks that this piece of information might have been fed to Landis by the Moukhabarat ? And some more verification was needed?
Thank you to help me understand.

Default-user-icon eli (Guest) 9 years

If this is true then this will be the begining of the end to the syrian government.

Thumb shab 9 years

by showing their faces, they mean business

Default-user-icon The Truth (Guest) 9 years

This is the 3rd defection since the revolution began after Jisr al Shoughour and in Homs, the Syrian government has also arrested the head of the Baqqara tribe in Deir Ez Zor, tribes in Syria are armed and they won't put up with this sort of crackdown.

The Assad regime is just digging their own grave right now in Hama and Deir Ez Zor, the dumbest move they can do next is to launch an armed crackdown against the Kurds that way they can literally piss off the worst three regions to piss off in Syria