Syrian rebel leaders based in Turkey have settled an argument within their ranks about the overall direction of their fight against the regime, a rebel officer says, expressing hope that the agreement will lead to stronger supply lines for the rebellion.
Captain Ayham al-Kurdy, 30, an officer of the Free Syrian Army, confirmed rumours that opposition leaders met at a refugee camp last week to talk about a simmering dispute between the two most prominent Syrian defectors.
Resolving such arguments is key to the FSA's ability to serve as a conduit for support to the rebels, if international donors start making large contributions.
Colonel Riad al-Asaad, who founded the FSA last summer, wanted to focus external support on rebel brigades in northern Syria, in a strategic bid to carve out an enclave of control in a border province.
His rival, a recent defector named General Mustafa Sheikh, argued in favour of backing the rebels across the country, wherever the uprising has greatest strength.
Rebel officers decided that the general’s strategy was better than the colonel’s plan for a northern front, Mr. al-Kurdy said. The young captain did not attend the planning session, but said his superiors informed him of the decision.
“I’m happy about this plan,” said Mr. al-Kurdy, who serves as an officer with the Hama Martyrs Brigade, a rebel group in central Syria.
Public disputes between opposition leaders made some of his former colleagues in the Syrian military feel hesitant about defecting, he added.
“Now you will see more officers quitting the fight against us,” Captain al-Kurdy said.
The Free Syrian Army has limited resources to distribute; most of its direct support for the rebellion consists of modest cash donations to rebels on the front lines. That may change in the coming weeks, however, as Gulf states and other international donors consider funnelling aid to the rebels through the FSA.