BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:05 P.M.) – A leading military commander of the Ahmad Abdo Martyrs Brigade (Free Syrian Army affiliate) has defected to government forces following the rebel group’s surrender in eastern Qalamoun.
The commander in question is Ali al-Sheikh. His defection has been mimicked by dozens of other fighters and NCO-rank field leaders belonging to the Ahmad Abdo Martyrs Brigade.
According to sources, Ali al-Sheikh and fellow defectors represent Qalamoun-based rebels who have refused to be evacuated to northwestern Syria, instead choosing to settle their situation with the Syrian government and fight alongside the Syrian Army against Islamic State forces.
It is expected that many other militant commanders and fighters from eastern Qalamoun will also follow this same example for the exact same reason in the days to come.