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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Foreign Death Squad Network in Syria Larger Than Stated by West

Brandon Turbeville

Although evidence supporting the claims that the overwhelming majority of the Syrian “rebels” are made up of foreign fighters is not surprising to anyone who has investigated the unfolding crisis in Syria at any length, it might indeed come as a shock to those whose only source of information are mainstream Western media organizations like CNN, FOX, MSNBC, and other similar corporate outlets.

Yet the extent to which foreign mercenaries and religious fanatics make up the majority of the “rebel” (more aptly named “death squad”) ranks might surprise even those who would otherwise be considered well-informed regarding the Syrian situation.

Western governments and media outlets have attempted to downplay both the role and the number of foreign fighters in Syria. This is, of course, understandable, considering the agenda of the NATO forces in regards to the country.

However, it should be noted that although mainstream corporate media outlets are now forced to admit that there is, at least, a contingent of foreign fighters making up the ranks of the death squads they choose to call “rebels,” these same media outlets attempted to silence, ignore, and even deny this fact for a significant amount of time. Now, unfortunately, the atrocities of the death squads have become so great that they can scarcely be kept secret any longer.

Nevertheless, while such outlets have been forced to admit the presence of foreign fighters, these same outlets attempt to keep the reported numbers artificially low. For instance, consider the article by Mike Brunker, Investigations Editor of NBC News, entitled “Study uses ‘martyr’ posts to analyze ‘foreign fighters’ aiding Syrian rebels.”

Brunker’s article deals with a “study” released by the security firm Flashpoint Partners and the Neo-Con think tank Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) entitled, “Convoy of Martyrs in the Levant: A Joint Study Charting the Evolving Role of Sunni Foreign Fighters in the Armed Uprising Against the Assad Regime in Syria.

This report, “broke down 280 ‘martyr’ postings on jihadist websites, Facebook and Twittter marking the deaths of the foreign recruits” in order to estimate the amount of foreign fighters operating inside Syria.

Brunker writes, “The report notes that social media have ‘provided a critical online bedrock for foreign fighters in Syria . . . Each day on Facebook, new names of deceased foreign fighters are posted by rebel supporters who hope that their willingness to sacrifice will inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”

The Flashpoint/WINEP study incredibly attempts to claim that the majority of “rebels” are, in fact, Syrian and that the foreign contingent of the death squads make up, at most, 10% of the ranks of the “rebellion.”

Going beyond the realm of absurdity, the study even goes so far as to suggest that foreign fighters engaging in atrocities all over Syria are mostly those fighting in the service of Assad. While Assad has cooperated, to his own intellectual credit, with Hezbollah and PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), the suggestion that Assad is taking advantage of the use of mercenaries as a substitute army is ludicrous.

Brunker’s article states the following regarding the findings of the Flashpoint/WINEP study:
The numbers from the admittedly small sample of foreign fighters show that even within the radical elements, there is a broad range of participants. 
“A wide variety of international terrorist organizations have become deeply involved in Syria,” Kohlmann said. “In fact, based on our data, Sunni foreign fighters in Syria include former Hamas militants from Gaza, relatives of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (the late leader of al Qaeda in Iraq) and leaders of Fatah al-Islam (a Lebanon-based radical Sunni group).
"What should be particularly worrying for Western governments is the fact that at least a third of the fighters in our sample were affiliated with the most extreme rebel faction, al Qaeda's Jabhat al-Nusra -- and that at least seven of the 280 dead fighters we analyzed were from Western countries, including France, Denmark, Australia, the U.K., and the United States."
The Flashpoint/WINEP study thus puts the number of foreign fighters dead inside Syria as follows (totaling 280):

Libya 59 
Kuwait 3 
Algeria 1 
Tunisia 44 
United Arab Emirates 3 
Ireland 1
Saudi Arabia 44 
Australia 2 
Kabardino-Balkaria 1
Jordan 32 
Morocco 2 
Uzbekistan 1
Egypt 27 
Bahrain 2 
France 1
Palestine 8 
Azerbaijan 1 
United Kingdom 1
Russia 7 
Bulgaria 1 
United States 1
Chechnya 5 
Denmark 1 
Other 12
Dagestan 4 
Turkey 1
Iraq 3 
Kosovo 1 

However, it should be noted that, while few involved in the Syrian conflict will be able to provide a perfect picture of just how many foreign fighters there are, their identity, or whether or not these fanatics are still alive, a study which attempts to do so by using Facebook posts as the source of its data must not be taken as an authoritative account.

Much more authoritative reports would, obviously, come from individuals and organizations that are on the ground in Syria. In addition, it would stand to reason that organizations who are dedicated to the weakening and/or destruction of a nation should not be considered an unbiased or reliable source of information, particularly when that organization’s information would go some distance in shaping the opinion of the American and Western public with regard to the target nation.

Thus, it is important to understand that WINEP is nothing more than a Neo-Con/Israeli/Zionist think-tank which has long held Syria as one of its main targets. Indeed, WINEP is attached at the hip to AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and is largely considered to be merely another wing of the Israeli lobbying organization.

As the Institute for Policy Studies describes WINEP,
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a spin-off the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is an influential beltway think tank whose members have advocated a host of hawkish, “pro-Israel” policies over the years. It is considered a core member of the “Israel lobby,” a constellation of policy shops and advocacy groups devoted to pushing an Israel-centric U.S. agenda in the Middle East. Many of WINEP’s current and former scholars have been closely associated with neoconservatism, and the organization has generally been supportive of the “war on terror” policies pushed by representatives of groups like the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Iran and Syria have long been at the center of WINEP’s work, with the group’s scholars promoting a host of aggressive U.S. policies towards these countries, which often dovetail with the goals of other hawkish “pro-Israel” campaigns.
Although one could successfully argue that think tanks such as WINEP are “close to the ground” in Syria by virtue of their connections (direct and indirect) to those individuals and organizations who have organized, trained, and set loose upon secular Syria, it is also true that Middle Eastern news organizations such as Almanar of Lebanon are not only literally “close to the ground,” but that they are largely free of a blinding anti-Syria pro-death squad psychosis.

That being said, Almanar, banned in the United States (because free speech is respected in the U.S.A.), is not to be construed as an unbiased observer either. The network is owned by Hezbollah and is an avowed supporter of the Assad regime.

Nevertheless, Almanar has reported that 6,113 foreign fighters have been killed in Syria so far. The numbers and ethnic breakdown according to Almanar are as follows:

729 Saudi Arabians
640 Kurds from the Mujaahedeen Khalq (recently declassified as a terrorist organization by the U.S.)
489 Egyptians
439 Libyans
439 Chechens
301 Afghans
263 Libyans
261 Pakistanis
208 Iraqis
188 Russians
167 Turks
129 Jordanians
117 Somalis
129 Jordanians
109 Kuwaitis
90 French
67 Germans
66 British
50 Tunisians
55 Indonesians
53 Algerians
52 Yemenis
19 Qataris
45 Belgians
40 Uzbekis
35 Americans
31 Kosovars
21 Azerbaijanis
31 Maltese (Of Lebanese descent)
7 Mauritanians
6 Sierra Leone
6 Surinam

It should be noted that individuals at the Syrian Perspective website, have stated qualms with the breakdown provided by Almanar. Syrian Perspective suggests that Libyans have made up the majority of foreign fighters.

While the evidence does point toward Libyan fighters making up a larger contingent of foreigners as a whole in the death squad network, it should also be noted that the number produced by Almanar and Flashpoint/WINEP only represented the death squad members that have been found or reported dead, not necessarily the number of members currently in action.

Also note that many other nationalities have been included by a variety of other sources, almost all with different numbers. For instance, other sources have also reported the following nationalities:

BelgiumAfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaBosniaSwedenTajikistan;China; Kyrgystan; Sudan; Chad; Spain;

As I mentioned earlier, it is extraordinarily difficult to obtain accurate numbers regarding simply the number and nationality of dead foreign fighters. Even then, the number of dead foreign fighters does not provide us with an accurate number of living foreign fighters. Thus, we are unable to compile a list of the total number of foreign fighters as a whole.

Bill Van Auken of the World Socialist Website, however, recently wrote an article in which he stated that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 2,219 foreign fighters have been killed so far, thus suggesting that the number of foreign fighters still active inside the country “must be in the tens of thousands.”

Interestingly enough, this is the same figure which Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah cited when he stated "Tens of thousands of (rebel foreign) fighters did not bother the so-called Friends of Syria countries whose representatives met in Amman a couple of days ago. . . . . . But the interference of a small group from Lebanese Hezbollah was considered a foreign intervention.”

Yet one of the most obvious examples of foreign involvement in the Syrian death squad movement is the fact that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) has made up a large portion of the allegedly “Syrian” death squad fighters. Indeed, the LIFG, a contingent of terrorists, mercenaries, madmen, and religious fanatics that led the destabilization effort against Colonel Ghaddaffi in Libya and the subsequent genocide of black Africans after the murder of the aging leader, have thus been exported to Syria to wreak the same level of havoc and brutality upon the Syrian people as they did to their own country.

The LIFG, however, has not simply shipped a few fighters here and there for tactical support. The organization has actually commanded entire brigades of death squads, themselves made up of a diverse number of nationalities as evidenced by the above body counts.

In fact, it was known as far back as November 2011 that around 600 LIFG terrorists had traveled to Syria in order to engage in combat against the secular government and the civilian population. This provision of actual military support and “boots on the ground” on the part of the new Libyan regime (itself made up of nothing but Western-backed death squads) was only thinly veiled if at all. 

Remember, Abdul Hakim Belhaj, the LIFG death squad leader in his own country actually traveled to the Turkey-Syria border and promised weapons, funding, and manpower to “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) killers only days before the promised material arrived.

Although claims that Syrian death squads were made up mainly of foreigners were denied then and continue to be denied now by Western governments and their media mouthpieces, these same media outlets have been forced to admit that, at the very least, these death squads contained foreigners. As Ivan Watson and Raja Razek of CNN reported,
Meanwhile, residents of the village where the Syrian Falcons were headquartered said there were fighters of several North African nationalities also serving with the brigade's ranks. 
A volunteer Libyan fighter has also told CNN he intends to travel from Turkey to Syria within days to add a "platoon" of Libyan fighters to armed movement. 
. . . . . 
On Wednesday, CNN’s crew met a Libyan fighter who had crossed into Syria from Turkey with four other Libyans. The fighter wore full camouflage and was carrying a Kalashnikov rifle. He said more Libyan fighters were on the way. 
The foreign fighters, some of them are clearly drawn because they see this as … a jihad. So this is a magnet for jihadists who see this as a fight for Sunni Muslims.
The admission of the presence of al-Qaeda among the death squads has been yet another aspect of the so-called “civil war” that the Western mainstream media has attempted to avoid until avoidance was no longer possible. Unfortunately for the propagandists, the fact that the death squads are indeed al-Qaeda either officially or in ideological sympathy is no longer hidden nor debatable.

Consider the fact that the Council on Foreign Relations itself has not only admitted the presence of al-Qaeda amongst the death squads but also their necessity to the tactical success. The CFR report, entitled, “Al-Qaeda’s Specter In Syria,” states,
The Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army (FSA) battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Feeling abandoned by the West, rebel forces are increasingly demoralized as they square off with the Assad regime's superior weaponry and professional army. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale. The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.
Tony Cartalucci of Land Destroyer expounds the subject even further by writing,
Also, to be clear, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) is in fact an affiliate of Al Qaeda with its commanders having occupied the highest echelons of Al Qaeda's command structure and having participated in every combat engagement Al Qaeda has conducted since its inception via US-Saudi cash and arms in the mountains of Afghanistan in the 1980's. This was documented meticulously in the US Army's West Point Combating Terrorism Center report, "Al-Qa'ida's Foreign Fighters in Iraq." 
LIFG is also listed by both the US State Department and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf) as a foreign terrorist organization and a proscribed terrorist organization respectively. 
Foreign Policy's admission of al-Harati's role in organizing and leading the FSA in Syria, and the inclusion of Libyan terrorists in his brigade are by no means the only role LIFG is playing in the Syrian violence. LIFG commander Abdul Hakim Belhaj had visited the Turkish-Syrian border in late 2011 pledging Libyan arms, cash, and fighters to the FSA - with the nation of Libya itself having already become a NATO-created terrorist safe-haven. 
It is clear that LIFG, and by implication Al Qaeda, is playing a significant role in the violence in Syria, not only undermining the narrative of the unrest being an "indigenous" "pro-democracy uprising," but also implicating foreign nations who are funding and arming militants as state sponsors of terrorism. 
Included amongst these state sponsors of international terrorism are Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the Hariri faction in northern Lebanon, as well as the NATO-installed government of Libya. This also includes both the United States, who is admittedly providing cash and equipment for the FSA as well as coordinating efforts to arm militants, and now the UK once again with their latest announcement. 
similar scenario unfolded in Libya, where LIFG terrorists were likewise carrying out a campaign of nationwide genocide with NATO providing air support. Similarly, by funding, arming, and coordinating acts of violence with LIFG fighters, NATO, and in particular, France, England, and the United States, were guilty of violating both their own respective anti-terrorism legislation, as well as international provisions against terrorism.
In continuing to address the foreign nature of the death squads, it is also worthwhile to consider the claims made by Abou Zayd Attounssi, a former fighter with the death squads who became disillusioned with the movement.

As reported by Salma Bouzid of Tusnisia Live, the Tunisian television show, Attasiaa Massaa, featured a clip of a young Tunisian man named Abou Zayd Attounssi who claims that he recently returned to Tunisia after fighting for eight months alongside the inappropriately named “Syrian rebels.”

Further supporting the fundamentalist nature of the majority of the members of the NATO death squads (aka rebels) operating in Syria, Attounssi stated that his initial reason for traveling to Syria to engage in murder, plunder, and torture against innocent people was because “he felt his religion required him to engage in jihad against ‘the enemy.’”

Although it was apparently not the killing that turned Attounssi off from the death squad movement, he nevertheless became disillusioned with it because, “most of the fighters within the Free Syrian army are fighting for the spoils of war and the foreign aid they supposedly get.”

Also featured on the show was the father of Hamza Rjeb, another former death squad member who is now disabled. Rjeb’s father claimed that “the Tunisian government should take full responsibility for his son’s situation and for allowing groups in the country to ‘brainwash’ his son.”

In an interview with Tunisia Live, Ahmed Youssef, a journalist described by Bouzid as “pro-Assad,” stated, “For every Tunisian fighter brought to Syria, Qatar pays 3,000 dollars to the Syrian rebels.” He also claimed that, “most of the Tunisians come from disadvantaged regions in Tunisia with low unemployment,” and stated that the Tunisians fighting in Syria are “considered mercenaries.” Youssef estimated that the number of Tunisian fighters wreaking havoc in Syria is more than 3,500.

Although the exact number of foreign fighters making up the ranks of the death squads is unknown and will likely never be made public, the fact that the majority of the militants are drawn from outside of Syria’s borders. Even while the mainstream Western media will continue to do its best to obfuscate and pretend that the “rebellion” is organic in nature, only tainted with a few bad apples, the reality on the ground is quite the opposite.

However, as the Syrian government begins to gain the upper hand on the death squads operating inside Syria’s borders and mop up the hordes of mercenaries, religious fanatics, and mental midgets, the danger to Syria only becomes greater. This is because the death squads have functioned as the last hope of the Anglo-Americans wishing to overthrow Assad and install a regime that is both more amenable to the Western Empire and less capable of resistance to it. These fighters are thus the last push against Assad before direct military intervention takes place.

Although the death squads are being crushed by the Syrian government and such achievements should be seen as a victory, it is an unfortunate reality that, for the Syrian people, this battle is only the beginning.

As for the West, the assault on Syria will likely prove successful should it be launched. However, a military attack on Syria only reveals the next step in a plan that has lain under cover for many years. Such a plan is likely to ensure the mutual destruction of the entire world.

It would be wise for Americans and all other Western nations to get off of the Path to Persia. Total world war is the only thing left at the end of the road.
Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor's Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident. Turbeville has published over 200 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville's podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) 

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