Syrian Rebels Say Damascus Attacks Refugees in Jordan

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A Syrian rebel commander accused the government of sending groups into Jordan “to target refugees and opposition leaders, and to disturb the kingdom.” Tamer al-Samadi reports the commander also dismissed concerns about al-Qaeda fighters infiltrating Syrian rebel forces. 

The commander of the southern region in the Free Syrian Army (FSA) told Al-Hayat yesterday [Oct.29] that there has been contact between the Jordanian authorities and Syrian opposition forces to control Syrian sleeper cells, “which managed to cross into [Jordan] in order to generate chaos.”

Brigadier Colonel, Yasser al-Abboud, who defected nearly a year ago and is the commander of the FSA’s military operations in the southern region, told Al-Hayat: “We are voicing our concerns to the Jordanian authorities. We have also provided them with a list of the suspects’ names who have crossed into Jordan as refugees.”

“We are monitoring large parts of the Syrian border that is adjacent to Jordan. While we have been evacuating the displaced to the Jordanian territories, we provided our brothers there with the suspects’ names. We are keen on Jordan’s security and safety, especially that the country has welcomed tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, in addition to receiving some Syrian dissidents,” he added.

Abboud accused the Syrian regime of sending “large” and “organized” groups to Jordan, “to target refugees and opposition leaders and to disturb the kingdom.”

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Amman said it has received 215,000 refugees since the outbreak of the revolution in its northern neighbor.

Abboud added that the cells tracked down by Jordanian authorities were “only the tip of the iceberg,” and stressed the need to control all border crossings between Jordan and the FSA-controlled Syrian regions in order to prevent the Syrian regime from exporting its crisis to neighboring countries.

The Jordanian government has announced on more than one occasion that the security apparatuses have captured Syrian armed groups “that were planning to carry out sabotage operations in different regions of the country.”

Previously, Jordan’s King Abdullah II said that “some of the Syrian refugees did not come to Jordan in search of a safe haven, but to perform other tasks, such as gathering intelligence information on refugees or to carry out schemes targeting Jordan’s security and stability.”

Abboud, who is currently in the southern region, described the Syrian regime as “having a wide experience of terrorism inside Syria and in neighboring countries.”

Abboud accused “Bashar al-Assad’s cell” of killing Lebanese Internal Intelligence Chief Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, in Beirut’s Ashrafieh district.

The Syrian commander added that he was “one of the Syrian officers who served in Lebanon for 17 years and took part in the military and security operation, which was carried out by the Syrian regime inside Lebanese territory between 1988 and 2005.”

Thus, he knows “very well how the Syrian regime operates in Lebanon. The regime has a lot of criminal savvy in order to carry out its terrorist operations.

“The Syrian regime is trying with all its might to export its crisis to neighboring countries since it believes this will loosen the noose around its neck,” Abboud added.

Regarding the situation on the ground inside Syrian territory, especially in the southern region, Abboud stressed that the Assad regime “controls only 30% of the Syrian area. The FSA has seized about 70% of the area, including villages and towns in the southern province of Daraa.”

However, “the Syrian army still controls the sky over Syria, which is hindering the rebels’ movement,” he added.

Moreover, Abboud said that “the organizational structure” of the FSA joint leadership was finally complete. The leadership comprises about 13 military councils, distributed over various areas of Syria.

These councils’ main objective is to “plan military operations and regionally manage the revolutionary work.”

Abboud stressed that militants are committed to action in order to topple the regime and to hand over power to civilian politicians following the transitional period, which will take place after the fall of the Assad regime.

The Syrian military official pointed to the ongoing contacts between the FSA and some Arab and international parties, “which are urging the Syrian political and military officials to unite in order to accelerate the overthrow of the regime.”

When asked about the flow of Arab fighters with al-Qaeda ties into Syria to fight alongside the FSA, Abboud said, “There is no room for extremism in Syria, because extremism needs an incubator based on poverty and ignorance.”

He added: “We do not deny the fact that some Arab brothers are fighting with us against the criminal regime. However, they are only a few. In the southern region, for instance, there are 150 fighters, and in Syria in general, they number about 1,500 only.”

“These fighters came to help their brothers and do not seek to remove the regime so that they can take its place,” he said.

Nevertheless, Abboud talked about armed groups and described them as “terrorists” who have been “infiltrating” Syria from Iraq,  “with the help of the government of Nouri al-Maliki, and prior coordination with the Syrian regime in order to create chaos in the country.”

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Found in: refugee camps in jordan, jordanian-syrian relations, free syrian army, fsa, al-qaeda
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