Exiled Syria opposition confirms new army chief

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 8, 2014 at 1:50 a.m.



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BEIRUT (AP) — A coalition of Syrian opposition groups has confirmed its choice for a new army chief after the former military leader refused to step down.

The Western-backed coalition's higher military council issued a statement Saturday confirming Brig. Gen. Abdul-Ilah al-Bashir was their new chief, replacing Gen. Salim Idris.

The military council originally made the announcement appointing al-Bashir on Feb. 17.

But two days later Idris rejected his dismissal, badly embarrassing the Western-backed coalition.

Then Idris, along with more than a dozen senior insurgent commanders severed ties with the political opposition-in-exile, further fragmenting the notoriously divided rebel movement.

Idris was ousted by colleagues who blamed him for the waning influence of the coalition-backed Free Syrian Army, as Islamic-orientated brigades grew in power.

Al-Bashir is a rebel commander from southern Syria.

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The Associated Press

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