CAIRO — Commanders of the rebel Free Syrian Army said Saturday that they have moved their headquarters from Turkey to an unidentified location in Syria in an effort to unite and coordinate the armed insurrection against President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
Col. Riad al-Assad, a leader of the force, announced the move in a video posted on YouTube titled “Free Syrian Army Communique No. 1 From Inside.” The colonel was accompanied as he spoke by other rebel leaders in camouflage uniforms.
Syrian rebel forces have at least nominal control of a large crescent of territory along Syria’s northern border with Turkey where they could operate a base and no longer have to shuttle officers back and forth.
Some rebel fighters battling government forces inside Syria have complained that the leadership of the Free Syrian Army should be beside them rather than based in Turkey.
“This could be a key development, giving the FSA the chance to become the Syrian opposition to Assad instead of running the risk of turning into ‘Turkey’s opposition’ ” to Syria’s president, said Soner Cagaptay of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.