High-profile regime defector Manaf Tlass will head the Syrian Military Council, according to Zaitun Agency.
The head of the Free Officers’ Association, Brig. Gen. Talal Farzat, emphasized in an exclusive statement with Zaitun Media Agency that the idea behind the Military Council is both old and new, as it was first proposed in 2016 and brought back today with the aim of finding a solution to the Syrian situation.
The proposed joint Syrian Military Council includes armed factions and defectors from the regime, will seek to remove foreign forces and militias from Syria, unify the country and its forces, and sponsor the political solution.
According to Farzat, “The council is an urgent necessity at this stage and it would be the most important achievement, for without the Military Council there can be no stability in the post-Assad era.”
He considered that the Military Council “guarantees Resolution 2254, which provides for the political transition in Syria,” adding that the most important tasks of the council are to confiscate uncontrolled and illegal weapons and make sure they become under the supervision of the state, all the while preventing sectarian fighting or retaliation among the Syrian people and preparing for the creation of a constitutional document.
He pointed out that the council “is considered a premise to a social contract based on the concept of citizenship and restructuring the army and security system based on national foundations in order to protect the people and civil peace. [The council] also ensures the dignified return of refugees and protects the state’s institutions.”
“We have obtained the signature of 1,200 officers thus far, all of whom nominate Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass to head the Joint Military Council,” Farzat said, adding that the timing of the council’s formation is in the hands of the countries that call the shots regarding the Syrian issue.
He stated that Tlass visited Russia and that the visit was secret with the aim of conducting discussions in order to resolve the Syrian issue. The discussions reached a dead end.
Regarding the steps for forming the council, Farzat said, “The process has not started yet because the decision is taken by international entities. Once the process begins, we will see Brig. Gen. Tlass explaining to the Syrian people his plan for a solution, through the media.”
A journalist close to Tlass comments
Yasser Badawi, writer and journalist close to Brig. Gen. Tlass, said in an exclusive statement to Zaitun Media Agency that the Military Council was first proposed at the beginning of the Syrian revolution, similar to other countries such as Egypt, but the project has now been re-introduced, and with great momentum, especially since the revolution is in a pivotal stage, with the fake presidential election nearing.
He explained that the Military Council is a necessity for the transitional period in Syria and should be among the international decisions and the political solution agreed upon by worldly countries. He added that the political solution cannot be implemented without the presence of a military arm and a military force that can enable the political solution and keep the right people on its radar, especially that the regime and other parties refuse such a solution.
Syrian politician, Michel Kilo, weighs in
Syrian writer and politician, Michel Kilo, said in an exclusive statement to Zaitun Media Agency that forming a transitional governing body in Syria is impossible, for it is rejected by “the butcher of Damascus [Bashar al-Assad], the Russians, and the Iranians.”
Kilo pointed out the necessity to “search for an alternative that would allow to achieve a transitional political solution from the Assad rule to an alternative regime,” adding that “the council is one of the proposals that can be worked on in this context.” He added that “as for the implementation of the idea, I believe that it needs concerted efforts, the involvement of a large number of stakeholders, and clear popular support, given the many obstacles that must be overcome locally, regionally, and internationally.”
“[Bringing the council to life] is not aimed at overcoming Resolution 2254, but rather the goal is to implement it. Therefore, it is not permissible to talk about the failure of the resolution in the event that the council ended up being adopted as a tool for its implementation.,” he continued.
He stressed the need to support the proposal in the way it was presented, despite his belief that its implementation “will be an uphill battle that requires an uncharacteristic amount of unity and creative insight in the opposition arena.”