The Syrian War is now going into the fifth year. Many people call what is happening in Syria a civil war, however, by definition this is a fallacy. A civil war is defined as “war between factions or regions of the same country.” In order to fit a round peg into a square hole, Middle East analysts would like to say that Syria’s war is between Sunnis and Shiites. However, this is not the case. For the most part, the sects represented in Syria are Sunni, Christian, Druze, Kurds and Alawites. Alawites only make up 10%-15% of the Syrian population, depending on who you ask. Who are these Alawites that are supposed to be so loyal to Bashar al Assad?
Assad Violations Against Alawites
Some will say that the Alawites are Shiite or an offshoot of Shiite. Is this enough to make them automatically follow a mass murderer? When I ask this question of several Alawites both male and female, I was told “Your question is insulting!” A man said, “First we are not Shiite. Next, before this war, I sat with my neighbor who was a Sunni and we had coffee and smoked cigarettes in the evening. We talked about our work and our kids. There was no animosity, why would this change in just a day?”
One Alawite in exile who previously worked for the government asked me, “If you believe this war is sectarian, why is Assad sending our sons to Iran to be ‘programmed’ to become Shiite when they do not fight anymore? Our sons are never even returned to their mothers, before they are shipped to Iran … Alawites are almost entirely poor, country farmers and the like, and Assad controls the people by threats … not more promises.” I was also told that it is more proper to say “Alawi” not Alawite.
My source told me there are an unbelievable number of “Alawi” that are ready to defect, but this cannot happen because “each one that moves will chance the lives of others they know. Sons go the military not because they want to, but because if they don’t, their entire family will be killed.” Like many people who have spoken out against Assad from within the “Alawi” community, this person has had multiple assassination attempts from the regime. The phone number and email address is changed routinely. Survival means anonymity. According to the LA Times World Now, “The Assad family has also repressed dissent from Alawites just as it has other Syrians.”
The “Syrian War” is an ongoing Genocidal Massacre, specifically orchestrated by Bashar al-Assad to crush the opposition which simply began as a peaceful protest to demand civil rights. Assad has made it clear throughout his campaign that his intention is “to destroy anyone and anything that gets in the way of his design to remain ‘Installed in the Palace until he dies.'”
Assad has gone to monstrous means to exercise his will, while keeping a facade of reason. He has managed to maintain steadfast allies with Russia, Iran and China; all of whom have backed Assad unconditionally, regardless of his “violations.” This is a man who at the beginning of the revolution clearly demonstrated he had “lost his marbles,” and now, according to Jonathan Tepperman of Foreign Affairs, “He’s [Assad] lying in a spectacular way, he must be enjoying a high confidence, so he’s either mentally unstable or he actually believes in what he says, it’s a detachment from reality.”
Syria’s President Speaks: Behind the Scenes with Jonathan Tepperman
Assad is egocentric and narcissistic. It is well-known that he believes he is “god.” This man who is unfit to rule is definitely a psychopath. However, is Bashar al-Assad detached from reality? He is a twister of words and even plays with the irrational state of his being President as a testament to how incompetent he really believes other Heads of State around him are. In an interview with the Czech News Agency on January 15th, 2015 he answered questions about Syria, the on-going war, terrorism, and his opinion about why he is still President of Syria. In short, he said if he didn’t have adequate support in Syria, he would surely fall, but there is no way he was stepping down. He colored that statement with words like “the people of Syria that support me,” even though it is evident he really doesn’t care if those “people of Syria” are just his inner circle and imports from Iran, Iraq (Militia) and Lebanon (Hezbollah).
Based on the interview with Jonathan Tepperman and the Czech News Agency, it does appear certain that Bashar al-Assad is delusional. However, just because he is delusional does not mean he isn’t culpable. Fortunately, persons acting under the influence of an insane delusion are punishable if they knew at the time of committing the crime that they were acting contrary to law.
Assad’s Violations Of The Syrian People He Calls “Terrorists”
How can a monster who has perpetrated such an unbelievably vile “hierarchy of horribles“ against his own people be destined to rule? Bashar al-Assad has stood firm in his determination to destroy the people he refers to as “terrorists” who are threatening his “occupancy in the palace.” However, by all of his actions it is clear that this human is certainly “A Man Unfit to Rule.” Not only has he committed genocide on his people, he has committed genocide on history known as “the cradle of civilization.” Syria’s landscape was prolific with both Muslim Mosques and Christian Churches dating back centuries that have been damaged beyond repair due to the bombs that the Assad regime has dropped from airstrikes.
Assad has reintroduced weapons of war that have been banned by the International Community as too horrible to use: Chemical Weapons and Cluster Bombs. When that wasn’t enough, the Assad regime developed their own style of weapon that certainly would be against International Standards of War called the Barrel Bomb which has been extremely deadly when filled with TNT, Kerosene, Nails, and even Chlorine Gas.
Effects of barrel bombs on Aleppo- BBC News
Bashar al-Assad’s violations against the Syrian People are too numerous to list. He has massacred over 200,000 people, including women and over 15,000 children. It should be noted that this is only the number that has been counted as there could be thousands more laying under bombed buildings that have never been found, lying in mass graves yet to be found, or stacked in a torture prison out of sight. There also hundreds of thousands of Syrians detained in Assad’s torture chambers, and others who have just gone missing. Although the Assad regime has said repeatedly to the International Community that he does not imprison children, there are currently approximately 9,400 Syrian Children detained in Assad’s torture prisons and there are 1,500 forcibly-disappeared children.
The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights documented an Assed regime “violation” of 127 air raids carried out by helicopters and aircraft on February 4, 2014 targeting several places in Syria, where Assad warplanes committed 3 massacres in each of the city of Khan Sheikhoun in the south of Idlib, the town of Jasem in Darra and Douma in Eastern Ghouta.
The People of Syria have called out to the International Community for help, however, in all cases their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
Free Syrian World Rappers
ISIS – A Terrorist Organization That Will Spread Like A Cancer!
President Obama has insisted that the US-led coalition “strategy” focus on Iraq, despite the fact that ISIS has been in Syria since April, 2013 and has developed a complete military, recruiting and social network in several areas of the country. Additionally, it is evident that in Syria, ISIS has been in collusion with the Assad government.
According to Nehad Ismail, a Middle Eastern expert and journalist, ISIS was brought to Syria by Assad and Iran to prop up the Assad government at a time when Assad’s government was at risk of failing. He said, “ISIS is definitely colluding. Its top commanders used to receive funding from Tehran and they had links with Military Intelligence of both Iran and Syria.”
What would Iran’s motivation be to support a Sunni jihadist organization like ISIS? Nehad Ismail says, “In Syria, ISIS has forced the West to choose between the regime of Bashar al-Assad or a terrorist outfit. Given that choice, it was assumed that the West would back Assad, as did the Russians and the Chinese. Cynically Iran is exploiting the Western fear of terrorism to make common cause with the West against ISIS.” Obviously Iran has won!
Since they have moved into Syria, ISIS has attracted a broad spectrum of terrorists from across the globe into Syria to train and fight for their ideals. Their primary tenet is to combat anyone who opposes their ideals, and to retaliate against those who have harmed any of their kind now or in the past. With this message articulated in provoking language, they have attracted foreign extremists from countries such as the United States, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Sweden, Russia, Chechnya, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
ISIS boldly advertises their brand of “Extremism” using a twisted interpretation of Islam as a front for their medieval behavior. They artfully lure Muslim youth, particularly those who may be facing struggles at home or in their community. Without a comprehensive network of equally eloquent and skilled people in their Muslim communities, such as Imams and teachers, youth are flocking to ISIS as their answer to fulfill “a trip to paradise.” Unfortunately, what ISIS has to offer will not get them to paradise, it will only deliver them to hell.
Putin is directly culpable for bolstering Assad’s military capabilities over the past four years, and has consistently acted as Syria’s mouthpiece when the US has taken positions against Assad’s cruelty. According to the Daily Beast, it looks like “Putin has his own ISIS problem,” one of his own development. One of the Senior Commanders in the ISIS organization, Abu Omar, who served with the US-trained Georgian army, is from Chechnya.
Abu Omar has now taken up a personal mission to recruit youth from his country for ISIS, and he is working to take the ISIS fight to Russia. There are an estimated 400 – 1000 fighters with ISIS from Chechnya.
ISIS Violations Within Their Ranks
Captured ISIS fighters have reported that their commanders provide them with psychotic drugs to “make them better fighters.” As easily as ISIS accepts the commitment of foreign fighters into their realm to commit their violations, they will eliminate those that can’t stomach the terror anymore.
According to an activist in Raqqa, Islamic State militants executed at least 100 of their own foreign fighters in Raqqa after the fighters were caught trying to abandon the group’s Syrian base headquarters. Additionally, there have been reports of ISIS commanders killing their “fighters” on the battlefield if they don’t have the stomach to fight. Several fighters interviewed in both Syria and Iraq have reported seeing children lying dead and left on the battlefield. You have to wonder if these children were killed in battle or killed because they couldn’t stomach the fight.
ISIS recruits children into their ranks in Syria, and places them in “kiddie boot camp” near Raqqa. Where does ISIS get these children, because recruiting is a fallacy really? Families living in Raqqa are pressured to send their kids to the camps, some are single mothers who are given no option. The message goes something like, “we will take care of you and you will let us take care of your son(s).” Additionally, ISIS kidnaps children at checkpoints by simply removing them from the vehicles. ISIS trains children as young as 10 years old and places them in support positions according to sources, however, children as young as 15 years of age are given psychotic drugs and placed on the battlefield according to one captured 15 year old ISIS fighter.
Once again, since ISIS has been in Syria since April of 2013, their violations have been extensive, both among their ranks and against the people of Syria. Although the quantity of crimes pale in comparison to the number committed by Bashar al-Assad, they do by design get the attention. It is certainly true that some of their “crimes for show” are heinous and barbaric. They have implemented an extensive list of egregious crimes, that are punishable with instant or near instant punishment which they claim is according to Sharia Law. However, nothing that ISIS does or says makes any sense to the true Muslim believers in Syria, Iraq, or anywhere for that matter. ISIS is what many scholars of Islam have said are evil, unlearned, and dangerously unscientific in the way they both discuss and administer Islam.
ISIS has gone so far as to develop crimes which would be considered “high value crimes,” specifically designed to raise international attention, increase anxiety, and in certain cases, even improve their cash flow. Most of all, the dialogue must continue that ISIS is the abominable terror organization that must be stopped, even if the International Community must “bend over” and accept help from Bashar al-Assad. This dilemma fulfills the Iran – Syria pact. But in the end, Assad the President of Syria will go down in history, as a worse monster than Hitler, Stalin and Gaddafi.
ISIS Violation Of Deir Ezzor And The Aftermath
Of all of the violations that ISIS has committed, I have chosen to tell the story of Deir Ezzor which starts back in August of 2014. To understand this story, I interviewed Ammar, who is a former Free Syrian Army (FSA) Journalist. He is now a Freelance Journalist living in Turkey who maintains a network of close friends both in the FSA and in the community of Deir Ezzor. The reason Ammar is in Turkey instead of still in his position with the Free Syrian Army is that ISIS has directly threatened his life and that of his family. His only option was to leave Syria, but he told me that he will return and he will help rebuild his country someday.
In August of 2014, Ammar recounted that the FSA left Deir Ezzor to go to al-Qalamoon. Once the FSA left Deir Ezzor, ISIS entered and began to fight with the Sheatat Tribe in their villages. Many of the Tribesmen who fought with the FSA were arrested and held in makeshift prisons. Unfortunately, these brave men were not to return to their families. They were beheaded by ISIS.
ISIS also mercilessly attacked villages and Ammar said, “They killed so many of the Sheatat Tribes people. It was more than one thousand people who were killed, even the children and women.” Ammar personally understands the pain of ISIS violations. He said “nine of my family were killed by ISIS, and fifteen are now prisoners and we don’t know anything about them.”
After this massacre, Ammar said “Three hundred and sixty of the Sheatat Tribesmen joined the Assad regime. One hundred and sixty of the men remained in Deir Ezzor to fight against ISIS. These fighters went with the Assad regime to fight ISIS from the Military Airport and have been operating from that site to this date.”
Additionally, three hundred men were sent to an Assad regime training camp outside Deir Ezzor called Tadmur. Once training is completed, the tribesmen will join the other Sheatat fighters at the regime’s Military Airport as part of Assad’s assault on ISIS in Deir Ezzor.
Ammar has provided interesting insight into how the Assad regime trains and subjects their conscripts to oppressive leadership in their military. I asked him if anyone in Assad’s army could question a leader’s order if it was clearly wrong or morally wrong, and he said, “NO!”
Why did these men go to the regime? Ammar said “They did this because no one else came to help when ISIS attacked Deir Ezzor. And, the regime offered them money, training and weapons, all of which they needed to protect their homes from ISIS in the future.” It isn’t that they like the Assad regime, they don’t, it is simply a means to an end. I ask Ammar if divulging the name of Tadmur would be giving away a location and put people at risk. Ammar said, “No, it is well known.”
Regardless of their reason, the people who went to the regime are not well thought of. Actually Ammar said “they are hated by their Tribe, and possibly all of Syria.” This is sad, because all of these people are victims of ISIS violations and each has a different tolerance level. Regarding the men who have joined the Assad regime, Sheatat Tribal Leaders have said, “they do not represent Sheatat at all.”
What needs to happen in Deir Ezzor, with almost 6 months of tyranny after a huge genocidal massacre at the hands of ISIS, is to push these terrorists out of this area (including the regime) providing “the people with a victory to grab on to so they can begin to heal if that is at all possible.” It is critical that any offensive which takes place in Deir Ezzor considers that there are still Sheatat Tribesmen being held by ISIS as prisoners in their facilities. The people have suffered enough without any further suffering from poorly planned offenses which might unnecessarily cause “collateral damage.” That horrible term again!
Jabhat al-Nusra Violations
Jabhat al-Nusra is the sanctioned al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria. At one time they were connected to ISIS, however, there was a break-up when ISIS began to torque up their violations to a level that even al-Qaeda was offended. Al-Nusra has concentrated their efforts in the past on fighting the Assad regime, Hezbollah, and even fighting ISIS. However, recently the target of their violations has changed, as they have been determined to establish a Caliphate of their own in the Idlib Province that borders Turkey.
Abu Abdulmalek (head of the Sharia Council of the Islamic Front prior to his untimely death) in a Sharia mediation on the dispute of al-Nusra said of their “narcissistic dream” of establishing a Caliphate, “the series of the absurd positions of the Kharijites of the time in which they manipulate the laws of Islam, the path of Jihad and the interests of the Ummah, and after the gang of Al-Baghdadi [ISIS] has done everything of the Kharijites’ deeds: heresies, radicalism, spreading corruption, and declaring Muslims as apostates, then their leader showed up to announce a claimed Caliphate is very far from the path of prophets.”
Recently, al-Nusra has taken up a similar path of “Kharijites’ deeds” similar to ISIS by terrorizing towns and villages. They have involved themselves in executing women on the street for charges such as adultery, where no proper proof has been provided. Men have been rounded up and tortured for the likes of thievery. Photos have circulated of public whippings. Recently, Jabhat al-Nusra arrested Free Syrian Army members and executed a commander. This is only a partial list of the type of violations al-Nusra has and still is inflicting on the People of Syria.
Community members have protested against their cruel behavior, and many are saying JAN and ISIS are now the same. Al-Nusra also took credit for a bus from Lebanon that was blown up in Damascus using a suicide bomb.
According to the Dar al-Ifta Organization, the Kharajites first appeared in the days of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and they fully emerged as an organized group during the Caliphate of Ali ibn Abi Talib (599 AD – 661 AD). Dar al-Ifta states, “The Kharijites committed acts of terrorism and carried out atrocities in the name of Islam. Due to their extreme and specious religious arguments, they would declare it permissible to shed the blood of both Muslims and non-Muslims.”
This article is meant to help readers better understand the incredible amount of fear and animosity the People of Syria have for all the actors in this “war” that wear a TERRORISM label. All of the actors who are present in Syria from foreign lands, near and far, are in Syria because Iran and Assad determined it was the best course of action to ensure his sustainability.
There is no one in Syria today that is living a quiet life at home, not worrying when the other shoe will fall. I call this “The Terror of the Wait” as the impact to people’s mental and physical health is certainly negatively impacted during this waiting period. It is unknown how many people in Syria, and in the neighboring refugee camps suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD affects both adults and children, it can be managed with the right services available, or it can be deadly.
It is time the International Community came together and fulfill broken promises to the Syrians. They are not asking for much, and here is a thought provoking idea. Help the Free Syrian Army defeat ISIS in Syria. Without more powerful means of defeating these formidable battles, which is their stronghold; and that will be the beginning and end of transitioning terrorists out.
It could take years to manage the spread of this ISIS cancer throughout the world, as the International Community vacillates on solutions that may work, don’t work or only sort of work. Anxieties over vetting processes have caused delays which have actually contributed to the cancer of ISIS and al-Qaeda to grow in Syria, Iraq and beyond; rather than prevent the feared disaster. At this point, there is one thing that is certain, the best allies the International Community have in the Levant are the Free Syrian Army, the Islamic Front and the Kurds.
Thanks to Ammar for his time and expertise in helping to write the story of Deir Ezzor.