Riad al-Asaad

Riad Mousa al-Asaad
رياض موسى الأسعد
Native name رياض موسى الأسعد
Born 1961

 Syria (1980–2011)

Syria Syrian National Coalition (2011–present)


Syrian Air Force (1980–2011)

Syria Free Syrian Army (2011–present)

Years of service 1980–present
Rank Colonel[1]
Commands held Free Syrian Army
Battles/wars Syrian civil war

Riad Mousa al-Asaad (Arabic pronunciation: [rijɑːdˤ muːsa ɐlʔæsʕæd]; Arabic: رياض موسى الأسعد, born 1961 ) was the commander of the Free Syrian Army.[2] He was a former Colonel in the Syrian Air Force who defected in July 2011.[3]

Al-Asaad had announced his defection on 4 July 2011, while he established the Free Syrian Army on 29 July 2011. He went to the Turkish Hatay Province, where he was under patronage of the Turkish Armed Forces.[4]

After UN military observers entered Syria, al-Asaad announced a ceasefire for all forces, committed to the Kofi Annan peace plan for Syria. However, after a few days he has reannounced continuation of attacks led by rebels because the government of Bashar al-Assad, according to him, did not make peace as promised.[5] On 31 May 2012, al-Asaad urged Kofi Annan to scrap his peace plan which he claims failed.[3] Moreover, al-Asaad opposes any exile solution for Assad, and seeks for fighting until al-Assad's government is overthrown.[6]

In an interview with the Voice of Russia made in early August 2012, al-Asaad claimed that the Syrian government attempted to assassinate him several times and for that reason he is being guarded by the Turkish intelligence. Colonel Kasim Saaduddin, a member of the FSA, stated that al-Asaad does not have control over the Free Syrian Army, which al-Asaad himself denied in the interview.[1]

On 22 September 2012, the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) announced that it had moved its command centre from Turkey to "liberated areas" inside Syria.

In November 2012, in order to get more support from Saudi Arabia, the FSA leadership was still planning to move into Syria, a FSA general al-Sheikh said.[7] The same general falsely claimed that the FSA moved its centre in Syria in September 2012.[8]

On 8 December 2012, in Antalya, Turkey, Asaad was replaced by Brigadier General Salim Idris as effective military commander of the Free Syrian Army.[9]

His family members were victims of execution by Bashar al-Assad's forces.[10]

Riad al-Assad has made controversial statements such as suggesting that suicide bombing is "an integral part of revolutionary action, of Free Syrian Army action."[11]

On 25 March 2013, he was the victim of a car bomb explosion near Mayadin, in eastern Syria. He was taken to Turkey for treatment,[12] where his right leg was amputated.[13][14] In his 2015 book, The Syrian Jihad, analyst Charles Lister cites a "senior Ahrar al-Sham leader" as telling him the rebel group had "secretly traced [the assassination attempt on Riad al-Asaad] back to Jabhat al-Nusra."[15]

Riyad Assad, told Yeni Şafak on 13 July 2016 that the Democratic Union Party (PYD) was more dangerous than ISIL, adding that ISIL was a temporary fraction in the area while PYD is a cause of permanent devastation which brings long term crisis to the region. The existence of PYD and ISIL violence was connected with the continuation of the Assad regime and that extremism in Syria would be vanished if Assad left power. PYD and its armed wing People Protection Unit (YPG) aimed to establish a separate Kurdish state in northern Syria but it would not be possible. The group was spreading hatred among Turkmens, Arabs, Alawites and Kurds living in the area. The group, claiming to defend Kurds, both supported by the U.S. military and regime forces had killed hundreds of Arabs, Turkmens and even Kurds who opposed their Marxist-Socialist strategy. "U.S. is equally responsible as Assad, Russia and Iran for killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in Syria," the FSA commander said. He stated that PYD was a plan of U.S. and Europe to sabotage Syrian people's resistance especially the Free Syrian Army.[16]


  1. 1 2 "Political Resolution on the Crisis in Syria is Impossible". Turkish Weekly. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  2. Sen, Ashish (5 October 2011). "U.N. veto called green light for Assad". Washington Times. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  3. 1 2 Sly, Liz (25 September 2011). "In Syria, defectors form dissident army in sign uprising may be entering new phase". Washington Post. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  4. العقيد المنشق رياض الأسعد: الحرب هي الخيار الوحيد للإطاحة بالرئيس السوري (in Arabic). صحيفة العرب - قطر [Al-Arab Qatar]. 8 October 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  5. "Sirija: bombaški napad na UN-ov konvoj pri ulasku u grad Daraa, u konvoju se nalazio i vođa misije general Robert Mood" (in Croatian). Advance.hr. Associated Press. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  6. Shannouf, Rida (24 July 2012). "Free Syrian Army Commander Rejects Exile for Assad". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  7. Syria rebels to reorganise, lead from front: general
  8. Rebel army moves command centre inside Syria to organise fractured forces
  9. Oweis, Khaled Y. (8 December 2012). "Syrian rebels elect new military commander". The Star. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  10. "Families of Syrian rebels killed in their homes, says UN". The Independent. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  11. "Inside Syria's War". Dateline SBS. 31 July 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  12. "'I want to die': Free Syria Army chief cries out after losing his leg". Al Arabiya. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  13. "Syrie: le fondateur de l'ASL blessé". Le Figaro. 25 March 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  14. "Free Syrian Army leader wounded in bomb attack". ABC News. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  15. Lister, Charles R., 'The Syrian Jihad: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Evolution of an Insurgency', C. Hurst & Co, 2015, p. 115
  16. http://www.aina.org/news/20160713202622.htm
Military offices
Preceded by
Office established
Commander of the Free Syrian Army
29 July 2011 - 8 December 2012
(as of 8 December 2012 only symbolically Head of State)
Succeeded by
Salim Idris
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