Syria’s top army defector tells The Telegraph: Assad’s forces will fall this month

Syria's most senior army defector, General Mustafa al-Sheikh, believes that President Bashar Assad's military will collapse within days or weeks, according to an interview published Sunday in The Telegraph.

"The army will collapse during February," The Telegraph quoted al-Sheikh, who has sought refuge in Turkey, as saying. "The reasons are the shortage of Syrian army personnel, which even before March 15 last year did not exceed 65 per cent. The proportion of equipment that was combat ready did not exceed that, due to a shortage of spare parts.

"The Syrian army combat readiness I would put at 40 per cent for hardware and 32 per cent for personnel," he added, according to The Telegraph. "They are sending in elements from the Shabiha (militia) and the Alawite sect to compensate, but this army is unable to continue more than a month. Some elements of the army are reaching out to the FSA to help them to defect."

Al-Sheikh's remarks come less than a week after Syrian opposition leader Colonel Riyad al-As'ad, commander of the Syria Free Army, said that around half of the country is no longer under the control of Assad’s forces....

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