Former ISIS fighter: Islamists fighting each other in Syria

A Saudi youth who was formerly fighting in Syria claims that the Islamist factions there are embroiled in infighting, and no longer focus on fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

al-monitor Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) are seen detained by Free Syrian Army fighters after the FSA captured their base in the countryside of Hama, Jan. 9, 2014. Photo by REUTERS/Omran Morad.

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youth, syria, saudi arabia, islamists, border crossing, bashar al-assad

Mar 7, 2014

Suleiman Saud Subai'i, a former Saudi fighter in the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), revealed that the Islamist groups and factions in Syria are not fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, but rather fighting each other. He said that even Saudis are fighting each other there, and pointed out — after handing himself in to the Saudi authorities — that all of the Saudis in the Islamist groups in Syria are fighting on the front lines and that their ages range between 20 and 30 years.

In “Hmomana” [Our Concerns], a program that was broadcast yesterday [March 5] on a Saudi TV channel, Subai'i explained that most ISIS leaders are Iraqi and Syrian. He said that they work on targeting Saudi youth to get them to join the fighting in Syria and wage jihad, and stressed that they repeatedly asked him to record a video urging Saudi youth to come fight in Syria, but he refused.

Subai’i, currently detained by the security authorities, said that all of the Saudi youth in Syria are engaged in the fighting, often on the front lines of the battle. He continued, “We receive the commands at our place of residence. They ask us to participate in a certain battle without giving us any further details.” He added that some factions accuse each other of being infidels, and Saudis are fighting each other.

“Accusations of apostasy are widespread among the fighting groups, and they have even spread to outside Syria, as Saudi rulers and some religious leaders have been accused of apostasy, and instead of fighting the Syrian regime, the factions are fighting each other, with no single sign of jihad,” he added.

Subai’i, 25, said, “ISIS used my Twitter account to broadcast its provocative messages and transmit news about the Syrian incidents. However, the messages soon changed and became provocative. They urged youth to fight in Syria and targeted religious sheikhs and powerful guides.”

“I discussed the messages with ISIS and voiced my desire to delete my account from all systems that pass on provocative messages. However, they asked me to focus on fighting and leave my Twitter account aside. They launched a campaign through my account under the title, 'Help Them,' which aims at collecting donations through deluding youth into thinking that I'm behind the campaign,” he added.

Subai’i confirmed that the situation in Syria is different from what is portrayed in the media. Lately, Muslims have been fighting with each other, and nothing indicates that the battle is one of jihad.

Regarding leaving to Syria and participating in the fighting, Subai’i said, “I was not conscious when I saw the photo of my brother’s corpse (Abdel Aziz) after he was killed. This was the main factor that pushed me to go to Syria. I left Saudi Arabia through Qatar to Turkey and communicated via Twitter with one of my contacts. I told him that I was in Turkey, and that I wanted to participate in the jihad in Syria. Fifteen minutes later, I got a call from a Syrian trafficker, and he moved me to one of the guest houses there.”

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