A phoneinterview with Brigadier-general Akil Hashem March 29th 2012
Regarding the establishment of the Patriotic Syrian Army (PSA) on March 26th2012
Sankie Shimbun Newspaper Tokyo, Japan
Brigadier-general Akil Hashem was born in Syria in 1942 (70 years old by the end of the ongoingyear 2012).
He joined theSyrian Army in 1962 and resigned in 1989. He had submitted his resignations severaltimes, in 1981, 1982 and 1985, but his resignations were rejected. In 1989, heinsisted on his resignations and he threatened that he would stop working. He wasworking as a professor at the Higher Military Academy. He was trainingthousands of military men, including ranks of Major and Brigadier-general. Whenhe resigned from the army, he was 47 years old then. The Military law thenallowed him to keep in his office until reaching 62 years old, but he refused. Hebelieved that keeping his post would not add new for the country. His temporaryresidence is in France now, but his permanent residence is in U.S with my 4sons.
Q: regardingthe establishment of the Patriotic Syrian Army, shall you talk more about it andits main missions???
A: I have talkedabout this issue before, but I'll tell you in summery again. This army is not anew military formation and it does not compete against the Free Syrian Army(FSA). This army is established to be an overarching framework. This framework workson containing all forces inside Syria including defectors, retired elements whohave joined the revolution, in addition to civilian volunteers who have becomean important part within the resistance against the regime. I am working as oneof the consultative persons for this army. I was asked to chair the army's leadingcouncil, but I refused this post because I believe that the commander must notlead the army from abroad, but he must be at the battlefield. The militaryleader must exist among his forces at the battlefield. Now, I am the supremeadvisor of the Patriotic Syrian Army. I have said that if I get an opportunity toenter Syria, I will accept any post within the army; whether a high post of beinga soldier.
Q: what isthe difference now between PSA and FSA???
A: the words offree army reflect a moral name. Any fighter inside Syria, whether being a militaryor a civilian, is representing the free army. But, when we talk about the leadershipof the FSA, found on the borders, we notice a little struggle. We call oneverybody to join us so as to unify all efforts for the unification. We seek theaccomplishment of so-called "the Chain of Command" so that we cansupply the real fighters inside Syria with the financial, military and in-kindsupports as well.
Q: Have youcontacted with the resistance groups inside Syria or with the FSA'sleadership on the borders???
A: regarding thefighters inside Syria, they have contacted with me first. They are the owner ofthe PSA's idea. I have kept in touch with them continuously 5 or 6 months ago.
Regarding theleadership on the borders, in principle I have called everyone to join the PSAwithout exceptions. As I told I totally believe that the armed struggle must berun by commanders existed among their soldiers and forces in the battlefield. Hence,I call on them including the Free Syrian Army leadership, led by Colonel Riyadal-Asaad and Brigadier-general Mustafa Ahmed al-Sheikh who leads the MilitaryCouncil to join PSA.
Q: who isthe PSA's leader now in the battlefield??
A: the leader hasnot been elected yet. A Leading Council is to be composed. The council will beelected democratically. The leader's real name might not be announced in mediafor certain security reasons.
Q: whatabout the ongoing Initiative of Kofi Annan and the Arab League???
A: I do not rely onany initiatives. All these initiatives are giving the Syrian regime more timein killing the Syrian people. Right now, I am watching on TV dead bodies forSyrians; however the people are still get out for peaceful demonstrations. The SyrianRevolution now has experienced two courses. First: the popular movement viapeaceful demonstrations in participation of women, children and the old. Second:the armed movement whose top mission is the protection of the Syrian unarmedcivilians from the suppression made by the regime and its second mission is totopple the regime.
Q: have youagreed on the military intervention into Syria???
A: for 6 months, I havedemanded the military intervention into Syria because it is now the solution toprotect the Syrian People. It is the international community's duty. If the internationalcommunity faces difficulties due to the Russian stance anti-the Syrian people,we suggest the launch of initiatives by NATO or the superpowers.
Q: whatabout the political position groups, have you contacted with them includingthe Syrian National Council (SNC)??
A: I worked as amilitary advisor for the SNC for 4 months. Then, I had cut ties with the SNC's executivecouncil. There are differences between SNC and the executive council. No onecan doubt that SNC is the national political entity representing the Syrian people.For the executive council including its leader Borhan Ghalioun it has not metthe people's ambitions and demands and this was the reason behind my decision ofcutting ties with the executive council.
We believe thatthere are two missions that we have sought;
1- Theunification of all efforts of the Syrian opposition groups, like what hashappened in Istanbul. We should not leave who resigned from SNC to move onalone, but we have to continue on our efforts to contain them again demandingthem to re-join SNC.
2- Theunification of the popular movement inside Syria through three main bodies; (theLocal Coordination Committees, the Syrian Revolution General Commission and theSupreme Council of leading the revolution) so as to lead the popular peaceful demonstrations.
3- Theestablishment of the Patriotic Syrian Army so as to lead and contain all the armedstruggle groups inside Syria.
I have been an advisor for the Supreme Council of leadingthe revolution 4 months ago.
Q: have you mentioned the cooperation with SyrianCoordination Body???
A: اعوذ بالله ( I seek refuge in God) Haitham Mannaa's body issuspicious. We refuse its ideas. No dialogue with it and we do not want it withus. It is not a real opposition group. I call it the Coordination Body with theregime. Its demands now are useful for the regime. It refuses the militaryintervention into Syria and this rejection is refused by us.
Q: what about Refaat al-Assad??
A: اعوذ بالله. How can I cooperate with such man?I have refused to cooperate with Haitham Manaa despite of his semi-oppositionstance, so how can I cooperate with a criminal killer bloodthirsty man. In myarticles and interviews, I have declared that I do not have any relations withthis person. This person is responsible for the massacre took place in Hama in1982 and killed there 47.000 citizens.