Syrian rebel factions join forces

First Army in country's south aims to overcome infighting and disunity among anti-Assad armed groups.

Syrian rebel factions join forces

World Bulletin/News Desk

Three armed opposition factions in south Syria have announced a merger, to form what they call the First Army.

According to the Asharq Al-Awsat report, three moderate rebel factions in southern Syria have united to form a joint military command.

In a video posted on YouTube, fighters operating broadly under the Western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) in southern Dera’a province said they agreed to “form an organized military body . . .to meet the aspirations of the Syrian people to topple the regime and establish a state of law and justice.”

The newly-formed military command, mainly consisting of officers who defected from government forces and volunteers, said it was seeking to “unify all FSA factions under a joint military command.”

“We aim to establish a state of law and order and confront sectarian militias seeking to divide the people and create a state of chaos and instability,” the announcement said.

According to the report, estimates about the First Army’s actual fighting strength vary. The group claimed to have 15,000 fighters, although local activists put the number at closer to 5,000.

The First Army is the last in a series of rebel alliances that included the “Levant Front” in Aleppo and the “Unified Syrian Army” in western Dera’a, among others.

As the Syrian conflict has dragged on, the opposition has been weakened by infighting and disunity. This has undermined its efforts to remove President Bashar al-Assad.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Ocak 2015, 10:38

Muhammed Öylek