An Urgent Effort To Organize Syria's Rebels
The battle for Syria appears to have reached a decisive stage. Tanks are on the streets of Damascus as civilians flee the city, and rebels have seized outposts on the borders with Turkey and Iraq.
The opposition has shown a surprising military capability over the past few days. As fighting intensifies in the Syrian capital, there's an urgent push under way to organize the rebel force.
Lt. Gen. Faiz Amro, speaking by phone from a camp on the Turkish border for top Syrian military defectors, says there's been a shakeup in the command of the Free Syrian Army. He says 20 senior officers have formed a new military council.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which has become a dominant force in Syria's fragmented opposition, agrees that a military reorganization is needed now.
"What's important is that the people are talking to each other," says Molhelm al-Drobi is a member of the Brotherhood's leadership. "Outside moderators are trying to play [a] role to unify the officers under one umbrella."
Rebel commanders confirm unity talks have accelerated during the past few days, and many say a unified command is crucial.
One rebel, Abu Amar, says the Free Syrian Army has been an army in name only, expressing the frustration many fighters inside Syria have with officers outside. "We don't take any order from them, we don't listen to them, and actually we don't have any real communication with them," he says.