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Retired General and Bigfork Resident Meets With Syrian Opposition Forces
Paul Vallely says mission was first private trip to conflict-ravaged nation
Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely during his recent trip to Syria and Turkey. - Courtesy photo
Last month, retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely traveled with a team to Syria to meet with anti-government opposition leaders and gather information on a bloody conflict that has killed thousands.

Vallely, who lives in Bigfork, says the fact-finding mission was the first time a private group from the United States has entered into Syria since an uprising against the government erupted in March 2011. The Red Cross recently declared the Syrian conflict a civil war.

Vallely said leaders of the Syrian Liberation Army, one of the factions protesting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, reached out to him to “basically see if I could assist them in any way in terms of humanitarian assistance, medical supplies, food.” He said opposition forces have significant deficiencies in essential necessities.

“They’re trying to overthrow a tyrannical government and they’re not getting assistance over there,” Vallely said in an interview last week.

The retired major general became a recognizable face to many during his stint as senior military analyst for Fox News, which lasted from 2000-2007. Before that, he spent 32 years in the Army, retiring as Deputy Commanding General of the Pacific. He continues to work as a military analyst and frequently gives interviews.

In 2005, Vallely founded a conservative political organization called Stand Up America US, through which his trip to Syria was orchestrated. He also co-authored a 2004 book with Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney called “Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror.”

In March of last year, public demonstrations spread across Syria demanding the end of five decades of Baath Party rule and the resignation of President al-Assad. The government deployed the national army, setting the stage for a violent armed conflict that has ravaged the country and created a global dialogue over the manner in which outside countries should address the crisis.

According to news reports, the United Nations estimates more than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict, while opposition activists say more than 15,000 people have died.

After accepting the invitation from Syrian opposition leaders, Vallely and his team traveled to the border of Turkey and Syria in June. The team visited a refugee camp in Turkey’s Hatay Province near Antakya and conducted interviews with Turkish and other regional media outlets. A Turkish interpreter and Arab interpreter were part of the team.

Vallely and his team arranged to meet with opposition leaders at the Syria-Turkey border and toured the area. Vallely said he listened to the leaders’ concerns and offered a tactical plan for the opposition to secure pathways for humanitarian aid along the Turkish border.

He believes important lines of communication have now been opened with opposition leaders in Syria, which he hopes will lead to valuable insight into the conflict.

“I tried to give them some hope and give them some ideas to try to realize their hopes for freedom,” Vallely said.
On 07-18-12, bocephusj57 commented....
He was a lying, gunslinger consultant for fox lies, cheerleading the war in Iraq that was based on lies from the Bush/Cheney mafia. Let him lead the charge by the Syrian opposition.  They’ll probably frag him.
Kellyn Brown
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Dillon Tabish
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Tristan Scott
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@tristanscott *Billie Joe
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