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U.S. has no intention to fight al-Qaeda group in Idlib, CIA's arms programme not ended: commander

Interviews | 2017-07-29 04:21:31
U.S. has no intention to fight al-Qaeda group in Idlib, CIA's arms programme not ended: commander
(Zaman Al Wasl)- Head of the political bureau in the Mutasim Brigade Mustapha Segari said that the suspension of US fund to fighting factions was limited to halt of the support of the CIA, pointing out that the Pentagon still supports some factions.

In an interview with Zaman al-Wasl, he said that the three factions (Al-Mutasim-Al-Hamza, 51 Brigade) are still receiving support from the Pentagon, while support for many factions has stopped. He expected that support might be cut off at any moment from the American side.

He clarified that the United States did not ask us to fight al-Nusra Front while all attempts to work with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) failed because of the separatist tendencies of the People’s Protection Units militia (YPG). To the details:

Z- What is your explanation for stopping US support for the factions?
S-The beginning of the matter must be made clear: the support of the CIA stopped whereas the support of the Pentagon continues, and we in the Mutasim and Hamzah Brigades and the 51st Brigade receive support from the Pentagon and not from (CIA), and therefore this moratorium on armament did not include us.

The factions banned from American weapons
Z- What factions are affected by the cessation of armament?
S- All the factions supported by the CIA have been affected by this moratorium including Faylaq al-Sham, al-Shamiye Front, the Idlib Free Army, the Coast Division, and the Second Division. They rely on the support of the CIA.

Z- Do not you have concerns that the Pentagon is also going to stop arming?
S- We expect the support will stop at any moment, and any supporting body is not really obliged to continue their support. The issue is not a contractual issue with the supporting bodies. Thus everything is expected, and here the factions have a second plan in case the support stops, all factions have alternatives despite the modesty of these alternatives.

America arms 4,000 fighters
Z- What is the total number of the fighters in the factions (Mutasim - Hamzah - 51)?
S- The number does not exceed 4000, and therefore the American support for this number of fighters is not massive support.

Z- What type are American weapons do you receive?
S-Overall, the American weapons we receive are light and medium weapon and it does not compare to the weapons received by (SDF) which include tanks, transport vehicles for soldiers and anti-armor.

- Do not you fear the repercussions of the conflict in Idlib and the expansion of Tahrir al-Sham and specifically al-Nusra Front to the regions in the north?

- Tahrir al-Sham has no foot in our regions; neither in terms of the grassroots nor in terms of military strength because they are pariahs in our regions and most of the Syrian regions, but this does not mean that we do not take into account the expansion of Tahrir al-Sham. On the contrary, this is very important to preserve our regions from forces of extremism.

Z- Do you have a plan to fight Tahrir al-Sham?
S-What we fear is the recurrence of al-Raqqa scenario where ISIS as a result of some international developments managed to control the city of Raqqa. Later, they came up with (SDF) to fight the ISIS which in turn SDF forces took control of Raqqa. We are afraid of a similar scenario in Idlib. 

Here we have two options. The first is to move the street in the city of Idlib to reject the control of the Tahrir al-Sham, but this option will be painful because it will be followed by a bloodbath.

The second option is the military solution, and there are internal and regional contacts to consider the possibility of this solution.

Z- Are there intentions to advance the factions of the north to Idlib and fight Tahrir al-Sham?
S-There are efforts on this matter, but it is not yet clear.
America did not ask to fight Tahrir al-Sham.

Z- Did Washington ask you to fight Tahrir al-Sham?
S- It seems that America currently does not want to Tahrir al-Sham and did not ask any military body to fight it. Unlike the false rumors broadcasted by the Commission because we believe that what the Tahrir al-Sham is committing of attacks and bloodshed is in favor of some international and regional forces to pass foreign projects.

Z- Since America arms you and SDF, Can there be coordination in a place or action?
S-I do not think so because SDF project is different from our project. Every day it shows its separatist intentions and moves away from the national project. For months there has been an initiative to communicate and agree on the outlines, but these efforts did not succeed because of the general disagreement over the national project in Syria. It is impossible to agree.

Z- Many factions rejected US support to fight ISIS before fighting Assad. How did you accept this support?
S-In the period in which Washington offered weapons, we were fighting only ISIS in addition to another front with the Kurds , but the major danger was of ISIS and hence armament falls in this context.

Z-Will America accept your fight against the regime?
S- This decision is primarily one of Mutasim Brigade, but as you know, the Syrian scene s changing every day, and we are primarily fighting against the tyrant regime.
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