Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Riad al Asaad

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Years of service

Military commander

Commands held

Syrian civil war

Riad al-Asaad

Riad al-Asaad wwwstandupamericausorgsuawpcontentuploads20

Syria (1980–2011) Syrian National Coalition (2011–present)

Syrian Air Force (1980–2011) Free Syrian Army (2011–present)

Similar People
Adnan al‑Aroor, Bashar al‑Assad, Salim Idris, Maher al‑Assad, Assef Shawkat

Battles and wars
Syrian civil war

Organizations founded
Free Syrian Army

Guests speak about violence in Syria's Idlib

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


Riad al-Asaad Syrian rebel leader Riad alAsaad RN Drive ABC Radio

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

Riad al-Asaad Free Syrian Army will not join US coalition Middle East

English subtitles commander riad al asaad sends a message about zero hour

Establishment of the Free Syrian Army


Following the outbreak of violence in Syria in March 2011, Colonel Riad al-Asaad had announced his defection from the Syrian Air Force on the 4th of July 2011. He initially joined the Free Officers Movement after this defection.

Riad al-Asaad Riyad alAsaad Flickr Photo Sharing

On the 29th of July 2011, al-Asaad along with other defectors declared the establishment of the Free Syrian Army, with the intention of fighting an insurgent war to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad.

Riad al-Asaad Syrian opposition FSA abandon Riad Al Asaad Turkish govt

Colonel Asaad opposes any exile solution for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and seeks for fighting until his government is overthrown.

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. The same general falsely claimed that the FSA moved its centre in Syria in September 2012.

UN ceasefire attempt 2012

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. On 31 May 2012, al-Asaad urged Kofi Annan to scrap his peace plan which he claims failed.

Position within the Free Syrian Army

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.

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

Criticism from opposition protesters

Riad al-Asaad has received criticism from some opposition protesters in the city of Salamiyah. A protest on 3 August 2012 claimed that "Mr. General Riad al-Asaad , while our city protested for the first time, you were working for Assad's regime".

Assassination attempts

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.

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, where his right leg was amputated. 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."

Adversity to the PYD and allegations of Western conspiracy

In a 2016 interview with Turkish daily newspaper Yeni Şafak, Asaad said that the Democratic Union Party (PYD) was more dangerous than ISIL, adding that ISIL was a temporary fraction in the area while the PYD is a cause of permanent devastation which brings long term crisis to the region. He asserted that 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. He stated that the PYD and its armed wing People's Protection Units (YPG) aimed to establish a separate Kurdish state in northern Syria but it would not be possible. The group, he said, was spreading hatred among Turkmens, Arabs, Alawites and Kurds living in the area. He also asserted that the group, which claims to defend Kurds, both was 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.

Association with al-Nusra Front

Al-Nusra Front (later re-branded as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and then Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham) is a US State Department designated terrorist organisation, and major fighting faction within the Syrian Civil War.

In an undated video uploaded on March 26, 2013, Colonel Riad al-Asaad defended al-Nusra Front, describing them as, "our brothers in Islam". As part of the interview, he asserted that the FSA had provided direct support for the terrorist organisation in order to aid their fight against the Ba'ath government. Despite their subordinate organisation connection to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq, as well as al-Nusra's numerous crimes, such as suicide bombs which murdered civilians, Riad al-Asaad stated, "[al-Nusra] thus far have not done anything wrong to anybody".

In late August 2017, Riad al-Asaad attended a conference held by Tahrir al-Sham in Idlib. In response, the Hawar Kilis Operations Room, part of the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army, condemned al-Asaad and accused him of conspiring with al-Qaeda.

Opinion on suicide bombings

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


Riad al-Asaad Wikipedia