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Iraqi Families Sent to Syria to Change Demographics | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Ali Akbar Velayati/ (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

London, Beirut: Iraqi families are being sent to Syria to change the demographics in the country, according to sources close to the activities of the Iranian-backed armed militias in Syria.

“The most important plan currently conducted by the armed militias, is to bring Iraqi families mostly coming from the southern Shi’ite-majority provinces, and place them in several Syrian areas, particularly in Daraya, Maadamiyat al-Sham and al-Midan,” the source said, adding that around 300 Iraqi families have already arrived to Syria with an aim to produce a demographic change.

The source said the new plan is conducted in coordination with the Syrian regime.

Speaking with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper in London by telephone, the source, who lives in Beirut, said that Harakat al-Nujaba is the movement responsible for sending those Iraqi families by collaborating with other parties and factions in Syria.

He said Harakat al-Nujaba is headed by Akram al-Kaabi, a close ally to Iran and who has a direct relationship with Iranian Supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

“Each family arriving to Syria receives a salary of $2,000 and a residence,” the source said.

Al-Kaabi has around 5,000 fighters in Syria and therefore his movement is the largest Iraqi faction supported by Iran.

The source said Al-Kaabi and his movement are considered by Iranians as the number one faction because of their loyalty to Wilayat al-Faqih.

He added: “Harakat al-Nujaba is now considered as the most important movement in Syria following ‘Hezbollah’ because it has a large number of fighters in areas located West Aleppo.”

The source added that the majority of al-Nujaba fighters were trained in Iran after separating from the leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Qais Khazali, who had seceded from the Sadrist Movement in 2007.

The source said that Iranians are now giving more attention to al-Kaabi’s movement at the expense of Khazali, adding that al-Nujaba Movement is currently present in several important Iraqi intelligence and national security institutions.

The source said: “Al-Kaabi had lately revealed his capacities in fighting whereas Khazali has started to increase his demands inside Iraq, a development that did not please Iranians.”

Ali Akbar Velayati, an international adviser to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution said last week after meeting with al-Kaabi in Iran that “the government of the Islamic Republic [of Iran] will do nothing in Iraq without the permission of the country’s government.”

Velayati said Harakat al-Nujaba had benefited from the aid offered by Iran to the Iraqi people to fight against the U.S. occupation.