|ON AIR: Moaz al-Khatib in Cairo and Giselle Khoury in Beirut|
President Bashar al-Assad this week preferred the release by the Free Syrian Army of 48 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to freedom to 200 of his Alawite kinsmen.
The revelation by Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, head of the Syrian National Coalition of Revolutionary Forces, came in the course of a half-hour live TV interview aired late Thursday night.
He was speaking from Cairo to Alarabiya TV’s Beirut anchorwoman Gisele Khoury.
Khatib said the FSA offered to release the 200 Alawite military in its custody in exchange for 2,000-plus men and women detained by Assad’s security forces.
|Abu Firas al-Halabi|
In the end, Assad freed 2,130 of his tens of thousands of detainees, to win the release of the 48 Iranian Revolutionary Guards captured by the FSA in Damascus last August.
While the Iranians are now back home, Khatib said the 200 Alawites remain in custody with the FSA in northern Syria.
In other highlights of the interview, Khatib described Assad’s Sunday speech at the Opera House in Damascus as a “soliloquy” showing “he wants to talk to no one but himself.”
Khatib said the National Coalition was compiling evidence and drawing up a list of 200-to-250 war crimes suspects for the International Criminal Court.
He disputed Assad’s claim that the Syrian revolution had no intellectuals or leaders, citing the late Ghiyath Matar (aka Little Gandhi), as one of its foremost thinkers and Muhammad al-Halabi (aka Abu Firas) as one of its outstanding leaders.
Abu Firas was the FSA commander killed by random shelling hours after his men stormed the Aleppo Infantry School in mid-December.
Khatib also appealed for donations from Syrians across the globe to help alleviate the winter hardships descending on Syrian refugees in host countries.