Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Syrian uprising started with peaceful protests in mid of mars 2011 but  couldn't not last for long, specially after the Syrian regime unprecedented brutal repression  in a hope to crack down the revolution. The peaceful protests gradually shifted to an armed rebellion, especially after the decision of the regime's head 'Bashar Al Assad' to use Syrian army to besiege and shell cities. Due to the formation of the Syrian army, the majority of the low rank officers and soldiers are Sunni descended from besieged cities  or villages (ex. Al-Rastan) .  That was the reason why lots of them either defected or disobeyed military orders or fled.  By time, the insurgency multiplied causing shortage of regime's soldiers. The regime ascertained that without recruiting loyal people of its sect Alawites, there would be a serious collapse in the army. The regime started to rely more on 'Shabihas' (Para-militia of Alawites). Due to the nature of the fight, and because the Syrian army lack experience in street fighting, another very dangerous decisions  was made by regime to rely on foreign militias that has experience in such battles, besides the professional snipers, and strategic war planners that were mainly brought from Iran, Lebanon and Iraq, which was the main source of these militia's personnel.

This article is meant to shed a light over different foreign militias that are fighting with the Assad troops, the other face of the struggle.

There is still no accurate number of the foreign combatants who fight with Assad troops yet. Some reports talked that Iran deployed around 50,000 trained Shi'ite fighters to back Assad regime [1], although this number looks exaggerated. Other reports said that Hezbollah alone sent 5,000 fighters [2]

These Shi'ite combatants recently started to organize among themselves forming a brigade (with 12 Battalions [3]) under the name of "Liwaa Abu Fadl al-Abbas", few reports  mention that it is a mixture of Hezbollah members and Iraqi Shi'ite   fighters. [4].

"Liwaa Abu Fadl al-Abbas" logo

This brigade is mainly deployed in Damascus likely to back the regime army in its expected coming combat in the capital. This brigade's headquarter is located in "Sayida Zainab"  neighborhood, which host "Sayida Zainab"  shrine (a holly shrine for Shi'ite).

Iraqi Shi'ite Sheikh Qassaim Ta'ay [5] with militia fighter of Liwaa abo fadel inside "Zainab" shrine in Damascus[6]
 This photo above shows an Iraqi Shi'ite cleric 'Qassaim Ta'ay' surrounded by 'Liwaa abo fadel' fighters holding a black banner. Text on the flag reading "يا قائم آل محمد", which is a prayer to ask for "Al-Mahdi" return (the twelfth imam for Shi'ite). This banner is said to be brought   from the city "Karbala" in Iraq, as a spiritual back by Shi'ite clerics.

"Liwaa abo fadell" fighters are descended from several militia groups, I managed to name some of these groups from what I collected from their death statements.

1- Hezbollah (Lebanon):
 Ali Jamal Jashi an Hezbollah fighter was killed fighting against "Free Syrian Army" in Daryaa in Damascus suburb [7].

(Update 1) more announcements for deaths can be found here here here here and here.
(Update 2) Leader from elite fighters killed in Qusair Homs here and more announcements for deaths can be found here here here and  here.

2- AMAL Movement (Lebanon)
 This militia contains 14,000 troops in Lebanon. AMAL is well known for its fought a long campaign against Sunni Palestinian refugees during the Lebanese Civil War [8]. Recently it announced  the death of one of its fighters in Damascus "Hamzah Ibrahim Ghalmoush"[9]

3- Hezbollah Movement (Iraq)
 This Movement is a Shi'ite Islamist, Iraqi political party that is part of the United Iraqi Alliance coalition[10]. Recently announced the death of one of its fighters in Damascus "Abo Karar al-hemaidawi". This announcement was made through their TV channel "Al -itijah".

(Update 2new announcements for deaths can be found here

4- Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (Iraq)
 Also known as the Khazali Network  a Shi'a Insurgent group in Iraq which is known as the country's largest Special Group. Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq funded by Iran and have links to the Iranian Quds Force. This group has claimed responsibility for over 6,000 attacks on American, coalition, and Iraqi forces.
The group recently announced the death of one its fighters in Damascus named "Karar Abdel Amir" [11][12].

5-  Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (Iran)
 Besides the fighters whom mostly came from Shi'ite Lebanon and Iraq, there are increasing evidences that Iran is sending Iranian trainers and consultants. At least there were two incidences :

  • Forty eight Iranian where abducted in Damascus On August 4 2012. Later, in an embarrassing u-turn for Iran, which has always claimed that these hostages were pilgrims, Ali Akbar Salehi, the Iranian Foreign Minister,later on was forced to admit that military personnel were among them [13].

  • An Iranian sniper trainer from "Shiraz"  was caught  training people of the village near "Fouaa" Shi'ite village in Idleb provenance[14].

 As a summary, most of the foreign fighters who back the Syrian regime in its bloody war are descended from Shi'ite militias, either allegedly "fought" American troops in Iraq or Israeli troops in Lebanon, in which  most of them were designated  as terrorist militias by the united states. This provoked a question by observers why, 'Liwaa Abu Fadel' not yet designated as a terrorist militia by USA similarly to the case of "Jabhat ul-Nusra". !! While Syrian rebels looked at it, as a green light given by the  USA with folding an eye on Syrian regime and its allies to counter the Syrian revolution by any means.


Post a Comment