Syrian opposition top military leader steps down

Syrian opposition top military leader steps down
Tue May 20, 2014 19:28:27

A top military figure within Syria’s troubled opposition has stepped down following reports of profound disappointment with the body's head, Ahmad Jarba.

A source close to Saudi-backed dissident Asaad al-Mustafa who served a position called defense minister in the opposition, speaking on the condition of anonymity, has said he resigned on Sunday night to protest a lack of funds for his mercenaries from the so-called Syrian National Coalition (SNC) leader Ahmed Jarba.

An unnamed SNC member said Mustafa left after Jarba refused to appoint him as provisional prime minister, a post currently held by Ahmed Tumeh.

Mustafa was appointed to his post last November as part of a plan by the SNC to administer areas of Syria that are under control of foreign-backed militants.

Mustafa served as minister of agriculture under President Bashar al-Assad's father and predecessor, Hafez al-Assad, but defected after the foreign-sponsored militancy broke out in 2011.

His resignation highlights divisions among the foreign-backed group which has been struggling with internal rifts since it came into existence.

Jarba will remain head of the SNC until June, when a new leader will be elected unless his term is extended.

Syria sank into war in March 2011 when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.

The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.


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