And Barack Hussein Obama is backing them with money, weapons and public declarations of support. Just like he did in Libya. Who will he end up supporting in Mali – the French or the jihadists who are trying to turn it into an Islamic state?
Western nations such as the United States and France who are opposing the al-Qaeda jihadists in Mali have been assisting the al-Qaeda jihadists operating in Syria to topple the Syrian government and destroy Syria in the process.
Barack Hussein Obama has also recognized the opposition that backs these jihadists rebels of the Free Syrian Army as the “legitimate representatives of the Syrian people.” But these are the people (see video below) who plan to take over Jordan and Lebanon when they finish with Syria, and then onto Europe and the U.S.
al-Monitor It is rare for Salafist fighters to speak with reporters. In his conversation with Al-Monitor, Rami Youssef shed light on the origins and objectives of Ahrar al-Sham (Free People of Syria), which was established in late 2011 as a Salafist group, as well as the still-fragmented nature of the Syrian opposition.
“We are an Islamic group, and we want to establish an Islamic country when the [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad era ends,” said Rami. Rami claimed to have no knowledge of Mouaz Alkhatib, the former imam of a Damascus mosque and the new, internationally recognized leader of the Syrian opposition. He says, “We will fight until we establish an Islamic state in Syria. Even the 75% of the Free Syrian Army is fighting with this in mind. We don’t want it as strict as Saudi Arabia, but we will not let go until we achieve our goal.”
Rami told Al-Monitor that three months after Ahrar al-Sham was established, nine trainers arrived from abroad to assist them. “The leader was of Syrian origin but came from Chechnya. His pseudonym is Abu Maryam,” said Rami, when asked what foreign support his group has received. “The others came from Libya, Tunisia and other places. Among other things, they taught us how to promote our organization. People started to join us, and we grew quickly.”
There are FSA and Jihadist training camps in Lebanon, the same Lebanon that Barack Hussein Obama just sent 200 U.S. tanks.
Rami claimed that there are some 5,000 to 6,000 Ahrar al-Sham fighters in Aleppo and the surrounding countryside and admitted that they receive foreign funding. “We get money from the Gulf – mainly from Saudi Arabia and Qatar as well as Kuwait and Bahrain,” he said. “We fight in our name as Ahrar al-Sham, so our budget is not the same as the Free Syrian Army’s. And we only use this money to buy weaponry for ourselves and the battalion.”
“We usually have machine guns and RPGs,” Rami told Al-Monitor. “We just recently started to get anti-aircraft weaponry. We looted some from the regular army. We buy the rest from Turkey or Chechnya or other places.”
Rami is careful when talking about Turkey. “The Turkish government is helping us (US Amb. Chris Stevens in Libya was sending arms to Syrian jihadists via Turkey) was because they’re an Islamic government too,” he told Al-Monitor. Rami did not want to go into detail about his group’s Turkish sources for weapons. He did, however, offer, “It’s important that the government allows the weapons to go through the borders.”
With great pride he said that although Ahrar al-Sham fights alongside the Free Syrian Army (FSA), his group is not connected to the latter. He is also not shy about admitting that atrocities have been carried out by both sides. “There are many shabiha [supporters of the Syrian regime] who are raping, stealing and robbing in the name of the Free Syrian Army and the Islamic groups.
Terrorist confesses that before the UN meetings on Syria, they massacred many civilians, filmed it, then blamed it on the Syrian Army.
Rami argues that the fighting in Syria has been sectarian from day one. “What do you think the fighters coming from Russia or Iran are doing? They just want to kill as many Sunnis as they can so that they can assure that Assad continues to stay in power,” he said. “After the Islamic groups started to operate across the country, we also started to do the same. It’s our jihadist duty.”
The composition of Ahrar al-Sham is different from the Free Syrian Army, whose members are mostly retired from or defectors from the regular Syrian army. “About half of us are Syrian. We have members of the Muslim Brotherhood in our group,” said Rami. “But the rest are coming from Libya, Chechnya, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan, Turkey Azerbaijan, and even America (see video below). There are even people coming from Belgium.” He claimed that he has seen “plenty” of al-Qaeda members in Syria, but that “their numbers are not as big as the FSA.”
All said, however, Rami does not believe the Syrian president will go anytime soon. “The regime is collapsing and getting weaker and weaker each day,” he said, “but it could take yet another year for Assad to lose power.”