A former commander of the anti-Assad Free Syrian Army (FSA), Captain Khaled Abdel Rahman al-Zamel, held a press conference in Damascus Thursday and said he has decided to return to the regular Syrian Army. “The solution in Syria does not lie in the use of weapons or violence.
The appearance of al-Zamel and his men came as a surprise to the Damascus conference, organized by some 30 Syrian opposition groups with the aim of opening peaceful dialogue with the Syrian government to resolve the ongoing crisis in the country. The gathering was attended by ambassadors from Russia and Iran, and China’s temporary charge d'affaires for Syria – three nations who consistently supported the Assad regime over the past 18-month uprising.
Al-Zamel’s statement sparked debate among anti-regime activists who had gathered there. Some argued that al-Zamel was forced to make his statement; others claimed that they had no idea who he was. At the same time, Yaser al-Abed, another FSA officer who attended the conference, formerly commanded a rebel group in Aleppo province. During the conference, al-Abed called on other insurgents to disarm and surrender: “Work your minds and know that holding weapons is nothing but a violation to the minds and freedom alike.”
“Syria is our home and honor, but they wanted to burn it. The most targeted things are our religion, nation and land,” al-Abed said. “I have known all that, and that is why I have decided to lay down my weapon to be a loving person who seeks the good and the humanity.”