Russia has denied Bashar al-Assad's request to appoint a new chief of the army staff under the pretext that the de-facto role of the Russian forces in Syria is substituting that position, sources told Zaman al-Wasl.
Assad's demand was delivered to the Russian headquarters based in Hmeimim base in coastal Latakia province in January.
Al-Assad as the General Commander of the Syrian regime army wanted to appoint the deputy chief of staff Maj. Gen Salih Hilal Al-Ali as the Chief of the General Staff, a position that has been vacant for 3 years.
The military source told Zaman al-Wasl that the Russian ’pretext for rejecting Assad’s request to appoint Al-Ali is that the Joint Operations Room is currently carrying out this mission (the chief of staff’s job).
Al-Ali's appointment might contradict the task room decisions in regard to the military operations on the ground, according to the source.
The Joint Operations Room, which was formed at the end of 2015, following the entry of the Russian forces, is tasked by the Syrian chief of staff to issue all orders related to military formations, including proposals for appointments of commanders and officers, the source said.
Zaman Al Wasl