Syrian opposition sacks military command over corruption

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Published Friday, June 27, 2014

Syria's opposition government sacked the military command of the rebel Free Syrian Army late Thursday over corruption allegations, as the White House asked lawmakers for $500 million for "moderate" insurgents.

A statement by the opposition government said its chief Ahmad Tohme "decided to disband the Supreme Military Council and refer its members to the government's financial and administration committee for investigation."

The decision came amid widespread reports of corruption within the ranks of the FSA, which is backed by Western and Arab governments in its battle to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The government in exile said it was also sacking FSA chief of staff Brigadier General Abdelilah al-Bashir.

It called on "revolutionary forces on the ground" to set up within a month a new defense council and to fully restructure the rebel army's command.

The announcement on Facebook came as US President Barack Obama asked Congress to approve $500 million to train and equip "the moderate Syrian opposition."

The request coincides with growing unrest in Syria's neighbor Iraq where militants led by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are battling the government.

ISIS, which aspires to create an Islamic state that straddles Iraq and Syria, has spearheaded the lightning jihadist offensive that has already captured swathes of territory north and west of Baghdad.

ISIS and other Islamist fighters in Syria are better armed and financed than the FSA, which has been pleading for greater support from the international community.

Earlier this month US National Security Adviser Susan Rice acknowledged that the Pentagon was also delivering "lethal" support.

About $287 million in mainly non-lethal support has been cleared for the rebels since March 2011, and the CIA has participated in a covert military training program in neighboring Jordan for the FSA.

(AFP)

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