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Wednesday
Nov072012

Syrian President Can't Trust Most of His Pilots, Former General Alleges

Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(DOHA, Qatar) -- President Bashar al-Assad is being hampered by apparent disloyalty, making it more difficult to launch air strikes against rebel targets, a former air force general is alleging.

Maj. Gen. Mohammed Fares, now part of the main opposition group, says that only a third of Syrian Air Force pilots are going out on missions to attack rebels.

Fares contends that al-Assad still has military muscle with a fleet of hundreds of planes.  However, many of the war jets are old and in need of parts.

The former general speculated about the state of Syria's military during a summit of opposition groups in the Qatari capital of Doha.

Fares, Syria's first astronaut who trained in Russia, defected with his family to Turkey last August.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio