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Ex-FSA leader arrested by Syria regime after promise of reconciliation

September 23, 2019 at 1:05 pm

Free Syrian Army (FSA) members make last preparations to fire a missile to hit the points of Assad regime and terror groups in Aleppo to retaliate against YPG/PKK attacks in Idlib de-escalation zone, on 9 May 2019, Aleppo, Syria. [Hişam el Homsi – Anadolu Agency]

A former senior Free Syrian Army (FSA) leader has been arrested and detained by the Syrian regime after returning to its territory under claims of amnesty and reconciliation.

Abu Mohammed Ghalib, the former leader of the FSA faction in the areas of southern Damascus, returned to territory held by the regime following an “amnesty decree” coming from northern Syria in coordination with the reconciliation committees which are a key component of the process of returning displaced Syrians and refugees.

Local sources had reported to the opposition news site Syria Call that the regime “had given him assurances that the security branches would not pursue him,” but confirmed that a few days after Ghalib’s return, a patrol belonging to the security forces raided his home in the town of Beit Sahem and took him to a prison site. He was then charged with the murder of members of the Syrian regime and its affiliate Hezbollah.

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The reconciliation committees reportedly attempted to intervene to get Ghalib released, particularly as it was they who had given him guarantees that he would not be prosecuted should he return. Their attempt failed, however, due to the cases levelled against him and the proof of the charges.

Sources also reported that the regime also launched raids and operations throughout the cities of Saqba, Harasta and Kafarbetna in the area of eastern Ghouta, particularly targeting and arresting young men who have returned to the region from the north of the country where the regime continues to attempt to capture its former territories from the opposition groups.

The arrest of Ghalib and the other young men who have returned to regime territory is the latest in the practice by the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad to arrest, interrogate and even torture Syrians who return to its areas in the war-torn country, betraying the guarantee of safety and reconciliation which persuaded them to come.