Charles Faddis speaks with Abu Shahab in Damascus Syria, who is a member of the Free Syrian Army
(FSA), one of the key groups fighting the Assad regime. The FSA is an armed opposition structure operating in Syria during the Syrian civil war. Composed of defected Syrian Armed Forces personnel and volunteers, its formation was announced on 29 July 2011 in a video released on the internet by a uniformed group of deserters from the Syrian military who called upon members of the Syrian army to defect and join them.
Some of Shahab's statements in this interview include:
- "Assad has used chemical weapons . There is a lot of evidence, starting in Aleppo, then Daraa and the countryside of Damascus..."
- "...mostly civilians killed by [these chemical weapons]..."
- "I can not determine how many times [Assad] has used chemical weapons because he has used it so many times."
- "Hezbollah is helping Assad inside Syria."
- "There is a shortage of medical care." (Victims who are hurt in the leg, for example, go to regime hospitals, then wind up dead, shot in the head by regime doctors. Because of this, there is no medical care available to many.)
- "We are requesting ammunitions, anti-aircraft missiles, rockets, and anything that will support our advance..."
- "We don't want food. We need something for the defense of our families and children and women because when Assad and his regime go to any place, they kill every[one]. Even the blind, they kill."
- "We want to sit together and live together with Christian or Alawi or Muslim. Before [Assad], there was nothing that happened with eachother.
The FSA operates throughout Syria, both in urban areas and in the countryside. Forces are active in the northwest (Idlib, Aleppo), the central region (Homs, Hama, and Rastan), the coast around Latakia, the south (Daraa and Houran), the east (Dayr al-Zawr, Abu Kamal), and the Damascus area. The largest concentration of these forces appears to be in the central region (Homs, Hama, and surrounding areas), with nine or more battalions active there. The head of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has said that the Free Syrian Army controlled significant parts of some cities.
Although most of the FSA's members are Sunni Arabs'Syria's largest community'it includes battalions made up wholly or mostly of Kurds, Turkmen, Palestinians and Druze.