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Public Statements

Nelson Conveys Need for Unified Command to Head of Syrian Military Council

Press Release

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Today, Nebraska's Senator Ben Nelson said that the revolutionary forces within Syria must develop a unified command structure to better coordinate among themselves, the United States, and the international community, to better aid transitioning from under the oppressive rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Nelson was among the first to call on the United States and international community to pressure al-Assad from office.

"Once the Syrian opposition forces get a unified command structure in place, it will be easier and more likely for the United States to move forward with allies to provide more aid and assistance to end the violence," said Senator Nelson during a Skype communication with Colonel Abdul Jabbar al-Ekedi, head of the military council of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the Syrian province of Aleppo. "At this time, it remains difficult for the U.S. government to determine precisely what groups to deal with, due to the scattered authorities of the revolutionary forces."

As part of the 2011 "Arab Spring" movement that forced rulers from power in Egypt, Libya, and other Arab nations, Syrians protested decades of brutal rule by the Ba'ath Party government, and demanded the removal of President Bashar al-Assad from office. After the Syrian Armed Forces opened fire on protestors, several Syrian protest groups slowly transformed into armed rebellion forces to counter the state military. The FSA, composed of volunteers and defected state military personnel, is the largest of the armed rebellion groups attempting to remove the Assad regime from power.

"Americans don't want to see al-Assad remain in power," said Nelson. "We want to make sure that our humanitarian aid goes where it needs to be. We want to ensure that our help is efficient and productive. We want to help promote peace, through good dialogue and open communication."

Nelson stated that Colonel al-Ekedi stressed to him that while conditions for communication among FSA units and other revolutionary forces are not optimal, ongoing efforts are being made to better connect with one another, including holding semi-regular Skype meetings. He also noted the need for more aid as the conflict drags on.

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