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Man behind the Curtain for al-Qaeda in Syria is Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad wanted the recent Geneva II peace conference to focus on terrorism. He says terrorism is the main problem a...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

MEMO | ISIS & the Assad Regime: From Marriage of Convenience to Partnership

Issued by the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces. Translated from the PDF version to HTML by LinuxBeach
See also Man behind the Curtain for al-Qaeda in Syria is Assad for more on the connection between the ISIS and the Assad Regime.



Since the FSA declared war on this group on 3rd January 2014 and took over many of their bases, significant evidence has been uncovered which has confirmed circulating testimony and rumors about the links between the regime and ISIS.

This memo is just a small sample of testimony from FSA fighters that describe events on the ground where regime forces have been protecting and assisting this group. Accounts go further, saying that regime forces are intimately intertwined with this group, whose objectives are one and the same: to destroy moderate Opposition forces and establish control over as much of Syria as possible. Accounts of this kind are so widespread, most Opposition fighters can add their own personal accounts to this collection. We would encourage those interested to independently reach out to Syrians inside the country to hear their testimonies first-hand.

Regime-ISIS non-confrontation, protection & assistance:

• Non-confrontation: The ISIS headquarters in Raqqa are distinctive and famous buildings (the governorate building and Armenian Catholic Church). When the regime shells the city, the aircraft fly down very low to target FSA held areas, however they never bomb the ISIS HQ or target areas under its control. Syrian – Turkish borders and the HQ in Al-Danna (Idleb)

• In turn, ISIS has never attacked Jisr Al Shughour, a regime-controlled area of strategic value in Idlib or the regime-controlled areas of Dier Ezzor or Aleppo City. A US official has recently testified to this.ii

• During the battle between ISIS & FSA in the northern suburbs of Homs (January 10th 2014), regime aircraft were heavily shelling the FSA, avoiding ISIS, which assisted them to move forward in battle.

• During the last battle between the Islamic Front and ISIS when ISIS was defeated in Aleppo, two days prior to this a convoy lead by an ISIS military leader, Emir Omar Shishani, drove (January 2014) from Raqqa to Aleppo, there are many eye-witness accounts saying this convoy was protected by regime warplanes. In contrast, the next day, another convoy from Liwa Al Tawhid drove a similar route north and was heavily bombarded by the regime planes.iii

• As recently revealed in westerns media, ISIS and Jabhat al Nusra is selling fuel to the Assad Government in return for electricity.

• ISIS upholds a systematic policy of assassinating the strongest and most highly respected FSA commanders, such as Abu Rayan, responsible Tal Abyad border checkpoint who was tortured and killed by ISIS, Abu Basir in the coastal front- Latakia suburbs, who was a highly prominent officer in the FSA.v

ISIS-regime fusion:

• Current emirs in ISIS were serving officers with the regime. E.g. Muhanat Juneidi was serving with the regime in Dier Ezzor during the Iraq war where he was responsible for the section following and investigating those who went to fight in Iraq and returned. He is an Alawite and until recently was an Emir with ISIS in Idlib suburbs where he was seen wearing the Afghani dawb, with a long beard. He was responsible for security issues inside ISIS in this area before FSA defeated ISIS and drove them out of Idlib (January 9th 2014). Similarly, Abu Anas al-Iraqi leads an al-Qaeda brigade in the province of Raqqa: “Abu Anas is financed directly by the regime, through Iran and Iraq”, confessed an ISIS detainee.vi

• Accounts from FSA fighters of seeing the same faces fighting with the regime as fighting with ISIS.

• Accounts from torture survivors – who were subject to the same torture techniques under the regime as under ISIS. There are pictures and videos available demonstrating this. Similarly when ISIS commit massacres, they employ the same methods as regime forces employ.

• During military clashes between FSA and ISIS, ISIS ammunition cases have been recovered by the FSA. Empty cartridges are labelled as having been manufactured in the Institute of Defence Factories, the regime Ministry of Defence factory or from Russia.

Documents:

• As the FSA have taken over ISIS areas, much evidence has been gathered and is being held with FSA brigades inside Syria. IDs of from Syrian intelligence agencies have been discovered in ISIS bases. Youtube videos, exhibit evidence which is currently held by the Jaish Al Mujahediin. It shows belongings found when ISIS bases were taken over by the FSA in Idlib. The evidence includes Iranian visas, Russian passports, Iranian simcards, photographs showing ISIS ‘emirs’ making fun of Arabs and posing with their scantily clad western unveiled girlfriends. Free Syrian Army uncovered in January the passport of Abu Hafs al Masri, senior commander of ISIS in the northern city of Jarablus, containing an Iranian visa stamp. vii

Civilian Syrian testimony:

• Masarat media and activist organization collecting these views showed that 70% of respondents believe that the Assad regime supports ISIS. The same study showed that 79% of respondents believe that ISIS has not played an effective role in opposing the Assad regime in their area. Social media sites of late, especially Twitter, have seen a marked increase in the discussion surrounding the relationship between Assad and ISIS, fuelled by material such as leaked Youtube videos of fighters affiliated with the Assad regime posing as ISIS fighters.viii

Conclusions

As the Assad regime tried to crush the revolution, conditions of turmoil and lawlessness allowed these groups to originally enter Syria as they snatched power within a vacuum. The Assad regime has been protecting, supporting and facilitating ISIS within Syria. Allowing this group to thrive is his ultimate protection from the international community who has been led to believe he is fighting terrorism in Syria. As ordinary Syrians would testify, Assad is the biggest force of terrorism inside Syria, not only through this partnership but through his systematic state policy of war crimes which continues to crush what started as a peaceful call for freedom.

We ask regional and international players: is it in your strategic interest to allow this regime to aid extremism, cause mass displacement & regional turmoil? The regime is allowing such groups to thrive on your borders whilst simultaneously perpetuating regional chaos by creating the greatest humanitarian crisis the world has seen this this century. It is time for a bolder policy to address this shared problem with final resolve.



Remarks

Ahmad Jarba, President of The National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, “Connection and collusion between the regime and ISIS runs deep. When the world hears Assad's empty talk of terrorism, they must think again and ask themselves, who in Syria is the true terrorist?"

FSA fighter from Homs, “It is so obvious to all of us on the ground. The West must see the extent of the deceit of this regime, it has no limits to the tricks it will play to save itself.”

Ahmet Davuto─člu, Turkish Foreign Minister, “There is a partnership between them [ISIS] and the regime”

Western Intelligence source, The Telegraph, “Assad’s vow to strike terrorism with an iron fist is nothing more than bare-faced hypocrisy… At the same time as peddling a triumphant narrative about the fight against terrorism, his regime has made deals to serve its own interests and ensure its survival.”ix

About this information & further enquiries

This memo is mainly sourced from the testimony of FSA fighters, it is a small sample of a wealth of evidence that is being gathered by the SOC, SMC, FSA & local coordination committees. A lot of evidence has recently been uncovered following the FSA surge against ISIS which was originally declared on 3rd January 2014.

All of the information contained in this memo can be corroborated by first hand sources. Please email this address with your enquiries and we will put you in touch with a relevant witness: ISISevidence@gmail.com

SMC Media Office: SMCSyriaSyria@gmail.com

About this information & further enquiries

This memo is mainly sourced from the testimony of FSA fighters, it is a small sample of a wealth of evidence that is being gathered by the SOC, SMC, FSA & local coordination committees. A lot of evidence has recently been uncovered following the FSA surge against ISIS which was originally declared on 3rd January 2014.

All of the information contained in this memo can be corroborated by first hand sources. Please email this address with your enquiries and we will put you in touch with a relevant witness: ISISevidence@gmail.com

SMC Media Office: SMCSyriaSyria@gmail.com

Further reading

- Yalla Souriya, ‘ISIS Assad Links’, https://yallasouriya.wordpress.com/tag/isis-assad-links/

- Michael Kelley, ‘It’s Becoming Clear That Assad Fueled The Al-Qaeda Surge That Has Kept Him In Power’, Business Insider, 21stJanuary 2014, http://www.businessinsider.com/assad-helped-build-al-qaeda-in-syria-2014-1#ixzz2soGvT05q

- ‘Al-Qaeda detainees reveal ties with Assad’, Al Arabiya, 20th January 2014, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/01/21/Al-Qaeda-detainees-reveal-ties-with-Assad.html

- Ruth Sherlock & Richard Spencer, The Telegraph, ‘Syria's Assad accused of boosting al-Qaeda with secret oil deals’, 20th January 2014

- Hassan Hassan, ‘It is Syria's mainstream rebels who are best fit to face down extremists -- not the Assad regime’, Foreign Policy, 9 January 2014

- ‘Syrians launch new "revolution" against ISIS’, Now, 4th January 2014, https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/nowsyrialatestnews/528566-syrians-launch-new-revolution-against-isis

- Mohammad Habash, ‘Radicals are Assad’s Best Friend’, The National, 1st January 2014

- Report, Al Jazeera, Yasin al-Suri – top AQ financier transferring money & people from Pakistan to Syria. Released by Iran to continue his work of transferring people to Syria. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2014/01/us-says-al-qaeda-financier-operates-from-iran-201412923044810857.html

- Michael Weiss, ‘Assad’s no enemy of al- Qaeda’, 31st July 2013, https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/commentaryanalysis/assads-no-enemy-of-al-qaeda


Notes on terminology & acronyms

- ISIS: Islamic State of Iraq & Sham

- FSA: Free Syrian Army

- SMC: Supreme Military Council (of the FSA)

- Emir: commander and ruler of an area – both a military and Islamic position.



i ‘The End of the Beginning in #Syria 2013 Round Up’, Yalla Souriya, 1st January 2014, http://yallasouriya.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/the-end-of-the-beginning-in-syria-2013-round-up-h/; ‘Syria: the struggle continues - “day of rage against Al-Qaeda & Assad”’, Guerre de Classe, 13th January 2014, http://libcom.org/news/syria-struggle-continues-13012014

ii Background Briefing on Geneva II Process and the Overall Situation in Syria, State Department Special Briefing for Senior Administration Officials, 31st January 2014, Washington, DC, Background Briefing on Geneva II Process and the Overall Situation in Syria, State Department Special Briefing for Senior Administration Officials, 31st January 2014, Washington DC, http://m.state.gov/md221121.htm

iii Emir Omar Shishani driving from Raqqa to Aleppo on 5th January 2014, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SRPcV4TZwg

iv Ruth Sherlock & Richard Spencer, The Telegraph, ‘Syria's Assad accused of boosting al-Qaeda with secret oil deals’, 20th January 2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10585391/Syrias-Assad-accused-of-boosting-al-Qaeda-with-secret-oil-deals.html; Ben Hubbard, Clifford Krauss & Eric Schmitt, ‘Rebels in Syria Claim Control of Resources’ New York Times, 28th January 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/29/world/middleeast/rebels-in-syria-claim-control-of-resources.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=2

v ‘Western-backed Coalition accuse ISIS of serving Assad’s interests’ Thursday, Asharq Al-Awsat, 2nd January 2014, http://www.aawsat.net/2014/01/article55326385

vi ‘Al-Qaeda detainees reveal ties with Assad’, Al Arabiya, 20th January 2014, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/01/21/Al-Qaeda-detainees-reveal-ties-with-Assad.html

vii https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8lQpI3h7fs; https://twitter.com/JadBantha/status/421263516301926400/photo/1; Andrew Parasiliti, Al Monitor, 23rd January 2014, ‘SOC member Michel Kilo claims evidence of Assad links to ISIS’ http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/01/michel-kilo-syria-opposition-regime-terrorists-isis.html

viii https://www.facebook.com/MasaratSyria

ix Ruth Sherlock & Richard Spencer, The Telegraph, ‘Syria's Assad accused of boosting al-Qaeda with secret oil deals’, 20th January 2014

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