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Syria's top army defector seeks asylum in Sweden

Local | 2013-11-23 00:00:00
Syria's top army defector seeks asylum in Sweden

Syria's most senior army defector, General Mustafa al-Sheikh has arrived to Sweden in company with his older son where ‘’they applied for a political Asylum,’’ well-informed source told  Zaman Alwasl.

Al-Sheikh had entered Sweden illegally through a smuggling network, the source said.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph last year, al-Sheikh, who was the head of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) military council , had called on the outside world to back the rebels before they all “turn into terrorists”.

Zaman Alwasl's analyst said the top General has fled the Armed conflict after being mostly Islamic with a state of chaos and discord between rebels, especially after the mounting rise of al-Qaeda affiliates  in Syria. 

“If there’s no quick decision to support us, we will all turn into terrorists,” he said. “If you apply the pressure that’s been applied to Syria, it will explode in all directions. Terrorism will grow quickly.”

Gen Sheikh was the first of a number of regime army generals to defect to the rebels, joining Col Riad al-Assad at the head of the FSA. The rebels fighting the battles on the ground though are not only divided among themselves but often refuse to recognise his leadership.

Mustafa Al-Sheikh was the head of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) military council until December 2012 and a commander of the Sham Falcons, a battalion numbering about 2,000 men. He was a general in the Syrian Army prior to his defection during the Syrian civil war.

Al-Sheikh said he battled with his conscience before defecting, mindful of his 37 years' service and of possible retribution against his extended family. He said the final straw had been a sexual assault by soldiers who took turns attacking a young bride in a village near Hama.

Zaman Alwasl- Exclusive
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