Syrian Rebels Plan Raids to Exploit Western Strikes: Commander
Beirut – Opposition fighters across Syria are preparing to launch attacks that exploit anticipated U.S.-led military strikes, but there are no plans to coordinate with Western forces, a Syrian rebel commander said on Saturday.
The United States said on Friday it was planning a limited response to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a “brutal and flagrant” chemical weapons attack it says killed more than 1,400 people in Damascus 10 days ago. Washington has five cruise-missile equipped destroyers in the region.
The Syrian government denies using chemical arms. Qassim Saadeddine, a former Syrian army colonel and spokesman for the rebels’ Supreme Military Council, said the council had sent a selection of rebel groups a military plan of action to use if strikes took place.
“The hope is to take advantage when some areas are weakened by any strikes. We ordered some groups to prepare in each province, to ready their fighters for when the strike happens,” he told Reuters, speaking by Skype. “They were sent a military plan that includes preparations to attack some of the targets we expect to be hit in foreign strikes, and some others that we hope to attack at the same time.”
The Supreme Military Council is the armed wing linked to the National Coalition, an umbrella group considered to be the opposition’s political leadership abroad. Saadeddine said the plans had been prepared without any help from foreign powers. He said no information had been offered to them by the United States or any other Western countries such as France, which has supported carrying out a strike on Assad. (Reuters)