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Assad fights his mercenaries in eastern Hama: documents

Zaman Al Wasl Leaks | 2017-07-03 02:55:28
Assad fights his mercenaries in eastern Hama: documents
By Ethar Abdulhaq

(Zaman Al  Wasl)- When Wael Jakesh, one of the most dangerous commanders of the National Defense militia in al-Salamiyah city east of Hama province or perhaps even all Syria, was killed on June 5, 2017, he was celebrated as “a martyr of the homeland who died fighting terrorism.” However, few people were aware that Jakesh, was leading the National Defense intelligence apparatus in Salamiyah, and was under Russian intelligence observation as he was included in Moscow’s list of terrorist targets in Syria.

The Mercenary Pharaoh

Jakesh was considered a keeper of dangerous and deadly secrets that affect the various activities of the regime’s mercenaries in al-Salamiyeh and its surrounding areas. Speaking to Zaman al-Wasl, a well-informed source suggested that Jakesh may have been killed by the Russians or at least pushed to his death for it to appear that he died in confrontations with the Islamic State forces.

Immediately after Jakesh’s death, two narratives emerged surrounding his death, the first claiming he died in a directed missile attack and the second that he died due to a landmine explosion. The first narrative disappeared quickly for the second to dominate without anyone delving into the details.

Zaman al-Wasl’s source draws his comments and suggestions from official information and lists now available to the newspaper. The official information shows that the regime imposed a travel ban on members of the infamous al-Salamiyeh mercenary group “to guarantee the rights of the state and victims, and based on Article 11 of the anti-terrorism law.” The Minister of Finance sent the directive to several public directorates including the Authority of Fees and Taxes, which in turn issued the official travel ban lists that include more than 160 people.

These official documents include the names of notorious mercenaries known for their crimes and violations in al-Salamiyeh and its surroundings. They are also known for their entrenchment and rebellion against the regime which armed, enriched and empowered them. Unless it is a situation where the regime wanted them to appear entrenched for it to appear unable to rein them.

At the head of the regime anti-terrorism list, is Mouseb Salama, the mercenary Pharaoh with his extensive criminal record, and the brother of Brigadier Abib Salama of the Air Force Intelligence.

Mousib Salama’s son, Firas Salama, is included on the list alongside several senior mercenaries from the Khallouf, Afifah, Dardar, Warda and other families. These mercenaries are all involved individually or in collaboration in committing murder, torture, kidnapping, intimidation, robbery, rape, skinning and burning among other crimes against many Syrians including against regime loyalists and even sectarian regime loyalists.

The regime issuing these lists to punish his mercenaries may seem surprising and somewhat strange, but this oddity gradually disappears once it becomes clear that the lists are the result of Russian pressure and even explicit orders.

The Intervention Mix

According to our special source, Russia continues its efforts to increase its, horizontal and vertical, entrenchment in Syria. After it established its foot in the coastal region and became the game changer in the area, the Russian bear’s fingers extended inland. The Russians found in al-Salamiyeh gangs of kidnappers, killers and looters who are led by mercenaries considered loyal to different parts of the regime and its auxiliary forces. These gangs operate despite the anger and resentment of most of the region’s residents and all those who pass through the area. Many complaints about these mercenaries have been raised, some to top regime officials and even Bashar al-Assad, but complainants found no response to their petitions or complaints.

Al-Salamiyeh then is a place where the gang’s impunity mixed with people’s complaints and the failure or enacted failure of the “government-state” offered a fertile ground for Russia's intervention. At the same time, the situation offers an important background for Moscow to appear as a rescuer and savior. Russia rushed to pass instructions directly to al-Assad for him to give orders to the “Terror Court” to deal with the issue, although this court is normally unable to approach thugs far less important than Mouseb and his followers. This court would not have intervened unless it received orders from up high as court employees want to avoid the rage of major military and security officers who benefit from and have invested in these gangs. It is only high-level orders that can counter the protective cover and shield the officers offer to these gangs.

On the one hand, these are explicit Russian orders which mortgage the reminder of the regime’s decision in Russian hands. On the other hand, it is a game that Bashar likes and perhaps even seeks as the regime armed, financed and overlooked the crimes of these people perhaps just for this stage of the war. With the end of this stage of the war, al-Assad wishes to appear as the “Dr. President”, a man of goodness and reform who does not accept mistakes. A man who does not remain silent about any violation even if it is perpetrated by those “protecting the homeland”, and will spare no effort to fight all those who distort the state's efforts to achieve stability and security.

In this sense, neither the regime nor al-Assad are ashamed to launch a campaign to discredit and reject thuggish behavior (tashbih), where the regime previously denied that such behavior even occurs in Syria. Al-Assad was unembarrassed to give a rhetorical speech to his ministers and officers as a president telling off his people for their entourages. The speech comes as a public charade with the sole aim of saying that everyone is bad, everyone has harmed Syria, and everyone has contributed to its destruction except the president who bears the burden of the homeland and its citizens. He is the only faithful and trustworthy authority who has committed no crimes and has never engaged in corruption.

Thus, al-Assad once again sacrifices his mercenaries who defended and protected him and his father, and punishes them for violations and crimes they committed based on his orders, his encouragement, and his condemnation at times! However, the punishment comes this time with Russian orders which al-Assad does not mind or disagree with executing because the orders serve him as much as the Russians. The Russians want to extend their control over areas in Syria and within state institutions, and the regime wants to benefit from its fight against these criminals after playing with their cards for a time and driving them into a position of baseness whereby their own people and supporters were not free of their violence. In fighting them, al-Assad emerges as the noble and good President who rid the victims of their violators, even if he is the lowest and basest of them. In one stroke of genius al-Assad becomes both the source of Syria’s disease and its cure.

In this report, Zaman al-Wasl presented the punitive lists and Russian orders, which is only one stage in a series of stages concerning the area of Salamiyeh and its environs. Zaman al-Wasl previously published reports about the area, and it will continue to publish more especially as the Russians are determined to turn their hidden intervention in Salamiyeh into a public and tangible intervention and presence. According to Zaman al-Wasl’s source, the Russians plan to establish military and intelligence bases in the area. Al-Salamiyeh with its vital location and population diversity will then remain the site for the intervention of outsiders in Syria once from the sectarians who came from outside al-Salamiyeh and settled in it and now from new invaders who crossed thousands of miles from outside Syria’s borders. These invaders come to impose their choices on the Syrian people under the pretext of combating terrorism and fighting mercenaries whom it was said and is still being said ‘fight terrorism’.

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