The Free Syrian Army (FSA) has offered a reward for whoever captures Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad, dead or alive, according to Turkish news agency Anadolu. Meanwhile, it is reported that Al-Assad’s increasingly desperate regime could resort to the use chemical weapons.
FSA leader Ahmad Hegazy announced the award Monday night, explaining that the reward will be provided by “Syrian tradesmen from inside and outside of Syria”. According to Hegazy, the intention behind this movement is to encourage those close to Al-Assad to turn against him and give him in.
“The capture of Al-Assad dead or alive deserves more than this given sum, yet it’s all we were able to collect,” Hegazy said, refusing to reveal the names of the Syrian “tradesmen”, citing fears for their lives.
Several countries are known to be providing the Syrian opposition and FSA with non-military aid, including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Military aid is also filtering into the country. The Karama national Syrian movement, one of the Syrian groups that has been operating from the Syrian tent in Tahrir square, Cairo, told Daily News Egypt last week that the movement supports the FSA financially, adding that the money is provided by ten Syrian business men who fund the FSA’s arms deals.
Meanwhile, Al-Assad’s forces may be becoming desperate in his defence, as German newspaper Spiegel reported on Monday that the Syrian army had tested chemical weapons in late August. According to Spiegel’s report, the Syrian army received from Iranian officers whom witnesses believe belonged to the Iranian revolutionary guards.
The chemical tests reportedly took place in Syria’s largest chemical weapons facility Safira, located in eastern Aleppo.
Believed to possess the world’s largest chemical weapons arsenal, the Syrian regime threatened in July to use chemical weapons if any external forces intervened in the crisis. The threat was the first time the regime acknowledged possessing chemical weapons.
“These weapons are stored and secured by Syrian military forces and under its direct supervision and will never be used unless Syria faces external aggression,” Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jihad Makdissi said in July, referring to the chemical weapons.
The statement came after Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak hinted in an interview with Israeli TV that an Israeli attack on Syria might be imminent should Syria’s chemical arsenal fall into the hands of Lebanese militants or “terrorists” affiliated with Al-Qaeda, in a reference to the Lebanese Hezbollah militant group.