17:15 GMT09 August 2020
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    Thirteen members of the Free Syrian Army have defected to the Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra in what a FSA commander described as an “experience-sharing act.”

    Abu Hashem, the leader of one of the largest factions of the Free Syrian Army, which is viewed in the West as part of the moderate opposition, justified his men’s defection by the need to fight the common enemy – the forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.

    “Thirteen members of our brigade have joined the ranks of Jebhat an-Nusra [Jabhat al-Nusra or Nusra Front] to share their combat experience… with their brethren fighting our common enemy – the government forces,” Abu Hashem was quoted as saying by an opposition website.

    Abu Hashem’s 500-strong brigade, armed, among other things, with Grad and Katyusha multiple-launch rocket systems and artillery pieces, has been fighting the government forces in the country’s northwestern Idlib province for several months now.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier that Moscow did not consider the Free Syrian Army as a terrorist organization and was ready to establish contact with its leaders.

    Related:

    US Created Free Syrian Army to Fight Proxy War to Topple Assad
    Russia Reaffirms Readiness to Cooperate With Free Syrian Army
    Tags:
    Free Syrian Army (FSA), common enemy, experience sharing, defections, Katyusha, Grad multiple-launch rocket system, Abu Hashem, Bashar Assad, Sergei Lavrov, Syria
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