Defectors from Syrian army warn Assad regime they can strike 'anywhere, anytime'

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 17, 2011 08:10 hrs

Soldiers who have defected from the Syrian security forces have warned President Bashar al-Assad's government that they could strike 'anywhere and anytime,' soon after they attacked military facilities around Damascus.

The Free Syrian Army easily penetrated the Assad regime's supposedly ironclad defences around the capital to launch raids on at least three security checkpoints on its outskirts.

It also launched a three-pronged assault on Syria's air force intelligence directorate in the north of Damascus, a powerful, feared and widely hated symbol of the regime's once over-arching authority.

The rebels boasted that Wednesday's action showed they could extend their reach anywhere in the country, the Telegraph reports.

"The Free Syrian Army carried out special operations in all Damascus areas to foil a plan being prepared by the regime against our people and to send a message to the regime that the Free Syrian Army can hit anywhere and anytime," the group said in a statement.

Wednesday's strikes suggested that the Free Syrian Army, founded in July and based in Turkey, is increasingly capable of mounting a full-scale armed insurrection.

"We are seeing more of these kind of operations by the armed elements of the opposition. This is a new and emerging factor of what's happening," the paper quoted Simon Collis, Britain's ambassador to Damascus, as saying.

According to the report, the directorate is seen as a vital part of the Syrian security apparatus and has been at the heart of its bloody repression of the uprising against Assad., which according to the UN has claimed more than 3,500 lives since March this year.

It is accused both of overseeing the shooting of unarmed protesters in and around Damascus and of imprisoning and torturing thousands more. (ANI)

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