Syria’s most senior defector: Assad’s army is close to collapse

The Daily Telegraph reports: In his first full-length newspaper interview, General Mustafa al-Sheikh, who has taken refuge in Turkey, gave an apocalyptic insider’s view of the state of the regime – despite its attempt to reassert control this weekend.

He said only a third of the army was at combat readiness due to defections or absenteeism, while remaining troops were demoralised, most of its Sunni officers had fled, been arrested, or sidelined, and its equipment was degraded.

“The situation is now very dangerous and threatens to explode across the whole region, like a nuclear reaction,” he said.

The failure of President Assad to keep a tight grip even on the towns and suburbs around Damascus, some of which have driven out the army for periods in recent weeks, has led to a reassessment of his forces’ unity.

When Gen Sheikh fled over the border from his town in the north of the country in the second half of November, he thought the army could hold out against a vastly outnumbered opposition for a year or more. Now, he said, attacks by the rebels’ Free Syrian Army were escalating as the rank and file withered away due to lack of belief in the cause.

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One thought on “Syria’s most senior defector: Assad’s army is close to collapse

  1. Tom Hall

    If the regime is to fall, let it do so before the guardians of freedom aka the US and EU manage to gain a foothold in the country. May the Syrians themselves seize control of their own destiny, unlike the unfortunate Libyans, who called on “friends” in the West for vital assistance. A Syrian revolution must be just that, and not a reoccupation by neocolonial forces. Western intervention has no justification.

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