The Syrian opposition National Council has declared that it fully supports the Free Syrian Army, the rebel force fighting President Bashar al-Assad, which is made up of his military defectors, Arab media reported on Wednesday.
“The Syrian National Council is proud of Syrian soldiers and officers who refused to fulfill orders by the regime to kill their compatriots demanding freedom, those who joined their people and the revolution,” a Council statement reads.
The statement came after National Council leader Burhan Ghalioun was reported to have asked British Foreign Secretary William Hague to push Turkey to stop instigating Syrian defectors to carry out attacks on Syrian territory.
“The Syrian National Council confirms its full support of all members of the Free Syrian Army,” the Council said in its statement.
The Free Syrian Army was formed in July, several months into popular unrest against Assad’s authoritarian rule, in Syrian regions bordering Turkey. Defector fighters' clashes with Assad’s security forces culminated in a major attack on the Syrian Air Force Intelligence headquarters on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus, last week.
International and regional pressure on the Assad regime has mounted as his violent crackdown on protesters intensified in the past few weeks. Syria has already been expelled from the Arab League and the United States and EU leaders, as well as powerful regional leaders Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and King Abdullah II of Jordan, have called on Assad to step down.