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The Free Syrian Army is an armed opposition structure operating in Syria since the start of the Syrian civil war. Composed of defected Syrian Armed Forces personnel and volunteers, its formation was announced on 29 July 2011 in a video released on the internet by a uniformed group of deserters from the Syrian military who called upon members of the Syrian army to defect and join them. The FSA's leader in August 2011, Colonel Riad al-Asaad, announced that the FSA would work with demonstrators to bring down the regime, and declared that all security forces attacking civilians were justified targets. The FSA coordinated with the Syrian National Council starting in December 2011, and supported the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces after the coalition's November 2012 creation. A major reorganisation of the FSA command structure occurred in December 2012, with al-Asaad retaining his formal role but losing effective power and Brigadier General Salim Idris becoming Chief of Staff and effective leader. Riad al-Asaad stated in October 2011 that the Free Syrian Army has no political goals except the removal of Bashar Assad as president of Syria. The FSA has also claimed that the conflict is not sectarian, that they have in their ranks Alawis who oppose the government, and that there will be no reprisals if it falls. On 23 September 2011, the Free Syrian Army merged with the Free Officers Movement and became the main opposition army group. By July of 2012, there were over 100,000 defectors from the armed forces reported, according to activist and media sources. About a year prior, American intelligence sources gave estimates of more than 10,000 defectors. The actual number of soldiers defecting to the Free Syrian Army is unknown. (via Freebase)