Exiled Syria opposition confirms new army chief

BEIRUT (AP) — A coalition of Syrian opposition groups has confirmed its choice for a new army chief after the former military leader refused to step down.

The Western-backed coalition's higher military council issued a statement Saturday confirming Brig. Gen. Abdul-Ilah al-Bashir was their new chief, replacing Gen. Salim Idris.

The military council originally made the announcement appointing al-Bashir on Feb. 17.

But two days later Idris rejected his dismissal, badly embarrassing the Western-backed coalition.

Then Idris, along with more than a dozen senior insurgent commanders severed ties with the political opposition-in-exile, further fragmenting the notoriously divided rebel movement.

Idris was ousted by colleagues who blamed him for the waning influence of the coalition-backed Free Syrian Army, as Islamic-orientated brigades grew in power.

Al-Bashir is a rebel commander from southern Syria.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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