BEIRUT

Middle East

Coalition details ISIS ‘partnership’ with regime

Opposition fighters from the armored brigade of the Tawheed Battalion sit on a tank during clashes with government forces near the airport on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on February 10, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED WESAM / AMC)

BEIRUT: The main opposition-in-exile group the National Coalition Monday accused militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) of being “partners” of the regime.

In a four-page memo entitled “ISIS and the Assad regime: from marriage of convenience to partnership,” the coalition said several ISIS emirs, or local commanders, were actually regime military officers.

The memo said that the confessions of an ISIS detainee indicated that one of them, Abu Anas in the province of Raqqa, was “financed directly by the regime, through Iran and Iraq.”

It said both the regime and ISIS employed similar types of torture and summary execution methods, and accused the regime of failing to target ISIS militants with aircraft and artillery in various parts of the country, even though their locations were well-known.

The coalition said the Al-Qaeda-inspired group had “never” attacked regime troops in strategic areas such as the cities of Aleppo and Deir al-Zor, or Jisr al-Shughur in Idlib.

The memo also cited evidence gathered in territory formerly held by ISIS in Idlib province by the Mujahedeen Army rebel group, one of the militias that have been battling ISIS since early January.

“The evidence includes Iranian visas, Russian passports, Iranian SIM cards, [and] photos of ISIS ‘emirs’ making fun of Arabs and posing with their scantily clad Western unveiled girlfriends,” the memo said.

It said a passport belonging to Abu Hafs al-Masri, an ISIS commander in the Aleppo city of Jarablus, contained an Iranian visa.

“ISIS upholds a systematic policy of assassinating the strongest and most highly respected [Free Syrian Army] commanders,” the memo said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 11, 2014, on page 8.

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