Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iranians were armed with sniper rifles - Deputy FSA commander - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – Free Syrian Army [FSA] Deputy Commander Colonel Malik al-Kurdi informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the al-Farouq Brigade of the FSA captured 7 Iranians involved in the suppression of Syrian citizens in the city of Homs last week. He revealed that 5 of the Iranians are “military specialists belonging to the Iranian Republic Guard”, whilst the other two are civilians.

The Deputy FSA commander told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the operation to capture this group took place after an FSA reconnaissance patrol observed a group affiliated to the Syrian army – with armed escorts – scouting the Bab al-Seba area of Homs.”

He said “this operation was undertaken after the al-Farouq Brigade noticed this group and their armed escorts were acting suspiciously in Bab el-Seba” adding “they were armed with automatic weapons and sniper rifles.”

Colonel al-Kurdi revealed that “a firefight broke out between the [Iranian] group’s armed escorts and the al-Farouq Brigade, but they were able to arrest 7 members of this group in Bab al-Seba…which was later subject to heavy bombardment from the Syrian regime. This is why we transferred them outside of Homs, for fear that the Syrian security services would launch operations against civilians [in Homs].”

Al-Kurdi claimed that these Iranians had taken part in the brutal crackdown launched by the al-Assad regime against the Syrian protesters. A video showing the 7 Iranians was released by the FSA yesterday, the video showed the captives’ travel documents, whilst the deputy FSA commander informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the Iranian’s did not have Syrian visas or work permits or any other indication as to how and indeed when they arrived in the country.

In the short video, one of the captives, speaking Farsi, reportedly confesses “I am Sajjad Amirian, a member of the Revolutionary Guards of the Iranian armed forces. I am a member of the team in charge of cracking down on protesters in Syria, and we received our orders directly from the security division of the Syrian Air Force in Homs.”

He adds “I urge Mr. Khamenei to work on securing our release and return to our homes.”

In light of this, the opposition Syrian National Council [SNC] on Saturday accused Iran of “participation” in the Syrian crackdown on protesters, and called on Tehran to stop aiding the Damascus regime.

SNC member Samir Neshar, speaking to a press conference in Istanbul, said “the SNC condemns the participation of the Iranian regime in killing Syrians who are demanding freedom and urges it to stop taking part in quelling the Syrian revolution in order to protect the relations between the two people.”

The Iranian State News agency IRNA did not include any news about the arrest of Iranian soldiers in Syria; however a report claimed that “11 Iranian pilgrims travelling by road to Damascus were kidnapped by an unknown group”. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying “We call on the Syrian government to use all means…to release the Iranian nationals.”