Raqqa, Syria− Faraj Hamoud, prominent Arab tribal leader in Raqqa and chief of a brigade linked to the al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic State in Iraq and Sham group (ISIS), said that his group will target FSA’ strongholds in the area, after accusing leadership of the opposition’s Free Syrian Army (FSA) of “receiving financial benefit from western countries under the pretext of backing the revolution”.
“We have received reports confirming that the FSA leader Salim Idris has received financial support from some western countries in the name of the rebels, while rebels fighting in different fronts suffer shortage of basic supplies. Therefore, we decided to target those beneficiaries and cleanse the area of their corruption,” Hamoud said in a statement issued on Monday.
Hamoud, who was earlier fighting in the ranks of the FSA before joining the al-Qaeda affiliated ISIS, is descended from the Shaban tribe in Raqqa.
During the ongoing war, a large portion of Arab tribal groups north Syria showed loyalty to the Assad regime and joined the regime’s army against the rebels, while others chose the side of the opposition and joined either the FSA or the Islamist forces.
Hamoud said that most of the FSA’s leaders who are based in Turkey (referring to Mohammad Aboud, an FSA brigade leader based in Turkey’s Antakya) “merely aim at collecting money” on behalf of the rebels, “while we (al-Qaeda) are fighting for ‘freedom’ of Syrians”.
His statements raised the anger of opposition activists in Raqqa and other areas. Some activists ironically referred to his statement when taking about his group of ISIS as fighting for Syrians’ ‘freedom’, saying: “A freedom that would come on hands of al-Qaeda fighters would be worst than Assad’s dictatorship. We will fight both”.
Any rebel group that associate with Western countries is, according to Hamoud, betraying the “blood of Syrians” and “should be fought”.
“We have information that the spokesperson of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) Luay al-Muqdad is in a constant contact with the American CIA to weaken our position in the rebellion, but we reassure that our position is stronger than ever in Raqqa province, and we will continue the fight against the will of those traitors,” Hamoud added. “our determination will overcome their interests.”
FSA supporters considered Farj Hamoud’s statements as “vowing”, but the FSA leadership did’t respond to his threats yet.
Ahmed, member of Shaban tribe (same tribe of Hamoud), told ARA News that the statement does not represent the tribe and Hamoud’s family.
“Such a statement primarily serves the Assad regime, not the revolution,” Ahmed said. “His statement was condemned by the majority of the Shabans, who are known for their support to the Syrian revolution.”
According to Ahmed, who talked to ARA News on the phone, Hamoud and his al-Qaeda-linked group try to eliminate the rebels presence from Raqqa province.
“Al-Qaeda is fighting the enemies of Assad (FSA rebels), how could that be read?” Ahmed said. “They are definitely serving Assad by such practices.”
Ahmed concluded saying that Hamoud has “good connections” with some officials in the Syrian regime. “Apparently, he received orders to contribute in weakening the FSA in Raqqa and divide their ranks,” said Ahmed.
Reporting by: Ridwan Bizar
Source: ARA News
(Editing by: Adib Abdulmajid. Translation by: Abdul Ilah Ibrahim)
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