FSA spokesman, member of the Higher Military Council and first defected Colonel pilot, Kasem Saadeddine has revealed details about the dismissal of Salim Idriss and the coastal front in an interview with Zaman al-Wasl.
The pilot said he believes the Higher Military Council and Abdul-Ilah al-Bashir, the new Chief of Staff and the Minister of Defense, and Jamal Marouf, the leader of Syrian Islamic Front and a member of the Protecting Civilians Authority are the true military representatives of the Syrian revolution in this recent period.
Regarding Salim Idriss’s dismissal, the spokesman said it was lawful and legal as the Higher Military Council has the legitimate right to promote the military ranks, segregate, or dismiss the Chief of Staff.
“The council elevated Idriss' rank from a General to Major General. How can we elevate his rank, but not dismiss him?” he said.
Saadeddine added that 22 members of the council signed the dismissal decision, while only 18 members out of 30 is required to make the decision legal.
He said he does not see Idriss' dismissal as having any negative effects on the opposition and the revolution, as Idriss had failed to achievei victory in the field. Moreover, he said, the influence of ISIS and the Nusra Front had increased at the expense of the FSA, he said.
The colonel confirmed that he does not suspect Idriss' intentions and honesty, but said he worked for the outsiders.
He confirmed that the dismissal decision was exclusively national and that no outsider had dictated the opposition to make it.
“In contrast, we are now being punished by some countries for not consulting them about the dismissal decision,” he confirmed.
Saadeddine said he considered the Islamic Front’s invasion of the Military Staff building and the arms storage units, which was followed with no condemnation, as a proof of Idriss' incompetence in the role that was given to him. Although the invasion cost the opposition 400 tons of arms, Idriss said that no arms were taken away.
“Once again, I did not suspect his honesty, but there are many notes on Idriss' performance,” he said.
Saadeddine confirmed that Saudi Arabia had nothing to do with Idriss' dismissal, saying it did its best "to prevent that from happening eight months ago."
The Colonel confessed that the relationship between Ahmed Jarba, the President of the National Coalition, and Asaad Mostafa from one side, and Idriss on the other was not good, because the latter used to ignore the Ministry of Defense’s orders and opinions. However, he said he did not considered what happened a coup.
In regard to choosing Bashir to lead the Higher Military council, he explained that choice was not planned or dictated by any party or country. “The story that we wanted to put a substitute to Idris to prevent pressure on us to return him. It was me who chose Bashir for that position, he is very expert and educated in military science, beside he is a ground forces leader and the head of the Military council in Qonaitra, he lost his son in the war and did not leave Syria. Bashir knew about his new position by media only” Saadudin detailed.
In regard to opening the Coast front, the spokesman sees it was a need to ease pressure from other fronts, and revealed that al-Nusra front started it in Kasab battle then the other battalions followed, he confirmed that there was some support to the front, and more is following.
In regard to delay in liberating Idlib, and Aleppo still bombed with explosive barrels despite the big amount of arms under Jamal Maarouf’s control, he explained that delay resulted from the lack of coordination within the armed opposition in Idlib. He added arms under Maarouf’s control were used to fight ISIS, and arms are now forwarded to Coast front.
In regard to “Overthrowing Jarba” campaign, he revealed for the first time that some people paid $1 million to support the campaign.
He describes his relationship with Monaf Tlas as good, because Monaf did not participate in any military operation against the Syrian civilians, and if he had done that he would have not had a good relationship with him.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer