By Mick Krever, CNN
As the U.S. Congress moves towards authorizing training and weapons for the moderate Syrian opposition, the former commander of the Free Syrian Army pleaded for support but said there was no need for international troops on the ground.
“We don’t need ground troops from any country in the world. We are able, if we receive enough support, to fight against ISIS,” Former Free Syrian Army Commander General Salim Idriss told CNN’S Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.
“We have a large number of fighters who are ready to fight and more than five thousand now are ready in the suburbs of Aleppo and suburbs of Idlib.”
If the FSA is able to train 5,000 more troops, he said, they would be able to fight both the Assad regime and ISIS.
“The fighters must be trained, because the majority of the fighters are civilian revolutionary forces and they must be trained and fully equipped and they need support.”
Fighting ISIS, of course, is what most concerns the West at the moment, and is the reason why the political tide has turned in America in favor arming the moderate opposition; getting rid of Assad has taken a back-burner.
But Idriss insisted that on the ground, fighting Assad must remain a priority.
“I understand that maybe the friends in the supporting countries, they like that the FSA fighters and those moderate fighters now concentrate fighting against ISIS; but what about Assad regime?”
“The main goal of the Syrian revolution is to collapse the regime. And if we accept now that we are going to fight ISIS, who can ensure us that the regime will not bombard the cities?”
“We won’t and we can’t stop fighting against the regime, because the main problem is the regime in Damascus.”