Syrian defector opposed to armed intervention

Associated Press
A Syrian rebel fighter holds his rifle as he and other fighters head to Aleppo to fight government forces, at their headquarters in Suran, on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
.

View gallery

PARIS (AP) — Syria's most prominent defector says he opposes any foreign military intervention in his country's civil war because the opposition can topple President Bashar Assad's regime on its own.

Manaf Tlass, a Syrian general who was the first defector within Assad's inner circle, spoke in a recorded interview that aired Monday on French television station BFM.

"It's up to the Syrian people to achieve victory by themselves," he said, adding that foreign military intervention "could not provide a solution" to the conflict that began in March 2011.

Tlass' defection in early July was hailed as a resounding triumph by Syrian opposition activists, although some are suspicious of his ultimate motives.

"The Syrian people are capable of freeing themselves. We don't want to be freed by France or the USA or any other country," Tlass said in comments translated into French by BFM.

He added, however, that outside support is needed.

"The Syrian people must not be robbed of their victory, they must be given support, aid, arms," Tlass said.

Tlass also said that he believes Assad's regime is "capable of using all kinds of weapons" including chemical weapons, against the Syrian opposition.

"Obviously if the regime is boxed in, it will use" chemical weapons, Tlass said, "It's a potential strategy."

View Comments (17)