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November 03, 2013

Top Syrian Rebel Leader Quits, Cites Rebel Infighting

by VOA News

A top rebel leader of the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army has resigned, to protest infighting among rebel groups trying to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Abdul Jabbar Akaidi -- the rebel colonel who led the massive July 2012 assault on the Syrian city of Aleppo -- said he is quitting to protest internal disputes he says led to the government capture on Friday of the strategic northern town of Safira.

Akaidi also linked his resignation to the failure of the international community to provide material support for the push to topple the Damascus government. In a video cited by the French news agency, he said "you have turned your backs [on Syria] and you have detached from it completely."

There was no immediate U.S. comment on the resignation.

The capture of Safira last week restored a key government supply link between Damascus and government forces holding on in Aleppo.

The 31-month Syrian rebellion started with the so-called Arab Spring protests in early 2011 that spiraled into civil war. More than 120,000 people have been killed in the uprising and millions more have been displaced.