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Not America’s Man: Idriss

Idriss says Muslim identity of fighters is nothing to be ashamed of
Not America’s Man: Idriss

The chairman of Joint Chiefs of the Free Syrian Army, General Selim Idriss rebels has rejected claims that he is acting as "America's Man".
Idriss said he was not even being backed by the United States, assuring that his is proud of his being only Syrian.'


'I am doing my best to support the rebels on the battle ground," Idriss said in media statements.


Regarding the accusation of the Islamization of the revolution, and claims that  most rebels have Islamic background, Idriss said: '"I'm Muslim and proud, as are the rebels wearing long beards. If it raised doubts, I don't believe they have anything to be ashamed of."


Idriss is a key interlocutor for the West and could be the conduit for future U.S. military aid, AFP reported last June.


In the West, Idriss is seen as a moderate voice, a counterbalance to some of the more unsavory radicals fighting within the opposition ranks.


A former military engineer, Idriss defected in July 2012, and was elected Chief-of-Staff for the newly formed military council overseeing the Free Syrian Army in December.


Stocky and mustachioed, Idriss hails from the central province of Homs and has at times shown a penchant for fiery rhetoric.
Idriss studied engineering in Damascus and received his PhD in Germany. He speaks English, Arabic and German and is married with three daughters and two sons.


Syrian activists and opposition members have largely positive things to say about him, but there are questions about the extent to which he commands fighters on the ground.


“Idriss is seen more as a political leader than as a field commander,” Elizabeth O'Bagy, former American researcher with the Insitutue for the Study of War wrote in March this year.


“He was not chosen because of his command of significant ground forces or his operational effectiveness, but instead for his ability to serve as a political representative… and for his personal relationships to foreign officials, and more importantly, to suppliers,” she wrote.

Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer


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