Abu Yahia al-Hamawi, Ahrar al-Sham’s New Leader

by Aron Lund, editor of Syria in Crisis

or, Mohannad al-Masri

Abu Yahia al-Hamawi Source: @ALAMAWI

The Syrian Islamist group known as Ahrar al-Sham Islamic Movement, which is one of the biggest armed groups in the country, has elected a new leader: Abu Yahia al-Hamawi.

Founded in 2011, Ahrar al-Sham was first led by Hassane Abboud, who also used the alias Abu Abdullah al-Hamawi. Like most of the group’s leaders, he was a former inmate of the ”Islamist wing” of the Syrian government’s main political prison in Seidnaia, north of Damascus. According to one piece of not-necessarily-accurate information, Abboud was held in jail—not necessarily in Seidnaia all of the time—between 2004 and 2011 on charges of having links to salafi-jihadi groups; other sources say 2007-2011.

Many of these Islamist prisoners were released early on in the uprising by presidential amnesty, a hotly debated decision. The amnestied prisoners formed several different armed groups in 2011 and began connecting with relatives, older Islamist sleeper cells from inside or outside prison, a number of exiles who fled the anti-Islamist crackdown of the 1980s, as well as foreign Islamists and jihadi figures, in order to create a Syria-wide armed movement.

The resulting  faction, known then as the Ahrar al-Sham Battalions, took shape in the Idleb-Hama region of northwestern Syria, where many of its leaders were born and where the group remains strongest today. Abboud, for example, reportedly hailed from Khirbet Naqous in the Ghab Plains area, which juts up from western Hama into Idleb. The group then grew step by step, by gobbling up smaller factions looking for protection and leadership, as well as by reconnecting with old Seidnaia cellmates who had independently set up their own movements in other provinces (such as the Aleppo-based Fajr al-Islam faction created by Abu Hamza and Abu Yazen, both of whom died in 2014). Having expanded its network to most of Syria, albeit still weak in the east and south, the group took its current name after a major series of mergers in spring 2013.

On September 9, 2014, most of Ahrar al-Sham’s first generation of leaders were killed in an explosion in an underground site near Ras Hamdan in the Idleb Province, where they had gathered for a top-level meeting. The causes of the explosion remain unknown. There have been suggestions of it being set off by accident (since the Ras Hamdan site reportedly also contained a bomb factory), or by a suicide bomber, or by internal treachery on behalf of a foreign government, the so called Islamic State, or even al-Qaeda, but it is all speculation. Ahrar al-Sham leaders interviewed about the event have refused to comment except by saying that an investigation is in progress.

Abu Jaber and the 2014 Leadership

Abboud and most of his lieutenants were among the dead and many, me included, expected the group to be dramatically weakened and perhaps to split. But it somehow defied expectations and bounced back impressively.

Immediately after the explosion, surviving members of the Ahrar al-Sham Shoura Council gathered to quickly elect a new team of leaders leaders, including a number of formerly second-tier commanders and recent affiliates.

As their new head—Ahrar al-Sham prefers the term “general leader,” or qaid ‘amm, over “emir”—the Shoura Council appointed Hashem al-Sheikh. Also known by the alises Abu Jaber al-Maskani and Abu Jaber al-Sheikh, he was not from either Idleb or Hama. Rather, he came from the currently Islamic State-occupied town of Maskanah, east of Aleppo, where he had run a small group known as the Moussaab bin Omeir Battalion until it was absorbed into Ahrar al-Sham in 2013. Abu Jaber, too, was a former Seidnaia prisoner, held by the regime from 2005 to 2011, allegedly for helping to transfer foreign fighters to the Islamist insurgents in Iraq.

Abu Jaber and the new leadership held the group together over the following year and—thanks in large part, it would appear, to increased support from Turkey and Qatar—even managed to expand its influence.

Meanwhile, the group continued to try to moderate its political position, stepping back from the hardline, jihadi-inflected salafism that had colored its rhetoric from the first public statements in 2012 until early 2014. The change in tune (whether it is also a change in actual content is a matter of some dispute) began already in spring 2014, before the death of the old leadership. It seems to have been triggered by the onset of two crises at once:

First, Qatar reportedly stopped much of its support for the group after U.S. pressures and as part of attempts to reorganize the rebellion via a new Military Operations Center in Turkey. This wreaked havoc with Ahrar al-Sham finances and left it in a weak negotiating position vis-à-vis foreign sponsors.

Second, Ahrar al-Sham (and other groups) entered into battle against the Islamic State, thereby forcing it to grapple seriously with the problem of jihadi ultra-extremism and to redefine Ahrar al-Sham’s own identity in opposition to it. Some, such as the above-mentioned Abu Yazen al-Shami, who was an influential ideologue until his death in the September 2014 explosion, even began to publicly apologize and distance themselves from their past as salafi-jihadi hardliners.

The ensuing series of ideological revisions, some seemingly heartfelt but others surely opportunistic, are still ongoing today. The cooptation of less hardline Islamist factions in the autumn and winter of 2014 may further have strengthened the ”doves” within Ahrar al-Sham, but with the group’s internal politics so secretive that no one can really claim to know for sure.

At any rate, Ahrar al-Sham’s public rhetoric has continued to move in the direction of the pragmatics, with anti-Islamic State editorials aiming to appease the West recently published in the Washington Post and the Daily Telegraph by its new foreign-relations official Labib Nahhas (Abu Ezzeddine al-Ansari, from Homs, whose Haqq Brigade faction joined Ahrar al-Sham only in December 2014). Ahrar al-Sham also, to the consternation of some more hardline members, also welcomed the Turkish intervention in northern Syria.

Some now claim that the group’s internal tensions have taken on an institutional character, with hardliners stronger in the Military and Sharia Offices elected in 2014 (headed by Abu Saleh Tahhan, from Idleb, and the Syrian-Kurdish salafi scholar Abu Mohammed al-Sadeq, respectively) while the Political Office (led at first, after the 2014 explosion, by the Islamist intellectual Jaber al-Halloul, who later resigned and was replaced by Sheikh Abu Abderrahman—not to be confused with Abu Abderrahman al-Souri alias Mohammed Talal Bazerbashi, who is another prominent leader of the group—and, yes, this is an unacceptably long parenthesis) has promoted a program of ideological pragmatism and collaboration with Western-backed rebels.

Abu Jaber al-Maskani Steps Down

Abu Jaber’s appointment as Ahrar al-Sham leader was only set to last for one year. He could have opted to run for reelection, but he declined, said the Ahrar al-Sham spokesperson Ahmed Qara Ali when I contacted him earlier today: ”As his term ended, brother Hashem al-Sheikh refused to extend his term, since he wanted to allow for new blood to be pumped into the leadership.”

Internal campaigning to succeed Abu Jaber has been going on for a while and it has apparently been quite fierce, at least partly due to the ideological tensions within the group.

According to a source close to Ahrar al-Sham, the victorious Abu Yahia al-Hamawi had squared off in a fierce internal debate against other contenders—most prominently Abu Ali al-Sahel, but there were others, too, including, apparently, an Abu Amer, of whom I know nothing more. Charles Lister also names Abu Azzam al-Ansari, head of the former Liwa al-Haqq contingent from Homs, Abu Abderrahman al-Shami, and Abu [Ammar?] Taftanaz.

However, according to Ahmed Qara Ali, Abu Yahia was elected ”by consensus.” When I ask about other contenders, he insists that ”the Shoura Council session was a closed meeting and brother Abu Yahia was elected by consensus, as has been publicly announced.”

My other source—who says he is not a member of the group and whose information I cannot confirm—insists that there was ”kind of a vote, but only inside the Shoura Council.” He says that there has been a longstanding factional debate inside the group, and since it was inconclusive, the Shoura Council initially tried to convince Abu Jaber to extend his mandate. When that failed, ”finally, they chose this person, as he is not a strong man, so he does not represent either side.”

The New Leader: A Preliminary Biography

Abu Yahia al-Hamawi is the alias of Mohannad al-Masri, a Syrian citizen born in 1981. (He has also been called Abu Yahia al-Ghab and presumably a number of other things.) He is a civil engineer by training, who studied at Tishreen University in Latakia City before the uprising. At Tishreen, as it happens, he became friends with Hadi al-Abdullah, who would after 2011 emerge as one of the most famous media activists in the Syrian opposition.

Qalaat al-Madiq in 2005 - Photo: Aron Lund

Qalaat al-Madiq in 2005 – Photo: Aron Lund

Like Abboud and so many other early Ahrar leaders, Abu Yahia is also a son of the Ghab Plains. According to the senior Ahrar al-Sham leader Khaled Abu Anas—who is himself from Saraqeb in the Idleb area—Abu Yahia hails from Qalaat al-Madiq. This Sunni Arab community of some 80,000-100,000 inhabitants (before the war) lies next to the famous Roman ruins of Apamea, a major tourist destination (also before the war…). It is currently in an area fought over by Bashar al-Assad’s government and rebel forces, prominently including Ahrar al-Sham, following the fall of Idleb and Jisr al-Shughour in March, and the town has been badly shelled and bombed.

Abu Yahia is also, unsurprisingly, a former Seidnaia prisoner, first arrested on August 2, 2007. One online source claims he was part of a group of Islamist activists arrested at the same time, which also included ”Abu Abdullah al-Hamawi and Abu Talha,” the former being the nom de guerre of Ahrar al-Sham’s founding leader Hassane Abboud and the latter presumably a reference to Abu Talha al-Makhzoumi, the Ahrar al-Sham military leader who was killed in 2014. Both of them were from nearby villages in the Ghab Plains.

At any rate, Abu Yahia was held in Seidnaia until his release in mid-Arab Spring on March 16, 2011, coinciding almost to the day with the start of the Syrian uprising. At first, he participated in peaceful demonstrations but he soon switched track to help pioneer Syria’s armed uprising and to create Ahrar al-Sham. Hassane Abboud has claimed that the group’s first real armed operations began in the Idleb-Hama area—which is another way of saying the Ghab Plains—around May-June 2011, thus predating the July 2011 announcement of the Free Syrian Army in Turkey.

Along with his associates, then, Abu Yahia began to organize armed ambushes for the government. He became the leader of the Osama bin Zeid Company, a small armed group based in and around his hometown of Qalaat al-Madiq. According to Ahmed Qara Ali, this was the first armed group working under the Ahrar al-Sham banner.

Abu Yahia then moved on to command the Osama bin Zeid Company’s parent group, the Omar ibn al-Khattab Battalion. As the conflict grew, he became the head of an even larger structure, called the Khattab Brigade. (He is seen speaking to Khattab Brigade fighters here, in a January 2014 video release from Ahrar al-Sham.) While in this role, Abu Yahia was appointed to serve as Ahrar al-Sham’s head of operations in rural Hama, which includes the Ghab Plains and is clearly a very important front for the group. He was finally appointed deputy leader under Abu Jaber in 2014—reportedly with special responsibility for security—and has served in this role until now. The Ahrar al-Sham media activist Abul-Yazid Taftanaz also claims that Abu Yahia heads the Central Force that Ahrar al-Sham is establishing in an attempt to reorganize its armed forces, following its merger with the Suqour al-Sham faction earlier in 2015.

Be that as it may, Abu Yahia’s family roots and longstanding leadership role in the Ghab region may well have played a role in his election, since this is currently one of the hottest fronts of the Syrian war. Ahrar al-Sham plays a leading role in the Fath Army coalition that dominates these battles, taking place in and around the hometowns of Ahrar al-Sham’s founders.

A Rebel Group with Real Institutions

Syrians and others will now look for signs of a shift in Ahrar al-Sham’s political line. So what do we know about his politics? Almost nothing.

A Twitter account that Abu Yahia started in 2013 (it hasn’t been active since April this year) mostly contains retweets of sayings and statements by senior Ahrar al-Sham figures or independent Islamists such as Abdulaziz al-Tareifi, an influential salafi scholar in Saudi Arabia. But there are also some 140-character quips by Abu Yahia himself, such as this one: ”If our project is a project of the Umma, then our jihad must by necessity also be a jihad of the Umma; an Umma whose jihad is led by an elite that will not restrict the jihad to the elite alone.” (For context, see the bottom of this post.)

More information is likely to filter out in the coming weeks, but according to Charles Lister, who regularly meets with Ahrar al-Sham leaders and has excellent insights into the group, Abu Yahia “played a lead role in developing the group’s new political ‘discourse’ of reaching out to West, including the US.”

As for my above-cited anonymous source—the one close to but not inside Ahrar al-Sham—Abu Yahia’s political priorities are not likely to be significantly different from those of Abu Jaber. And perhaps it would not matter anyway. According to this source, ”the problem with Ahrar’s structure is that the leader has limited authority. It’s the exact opposite of the Islam Army, where Zahran has the ultimate say, even though both have a Shoura Council.”

While this might indeed be a problem for Ahrar al-Sham, for example by slowing-down its command structure and policymaking, the level of institutionalization achieved by the group is also a major asset. Diplomats and others who are in contact with its leadership report that Ahrar al-Sham seems well structured, even at times disturbingly bureaucratic, to the extent that it is capable of pulling out a file on every past meeting with notes on exactly who was there and what was said by whom. Most of the Free Syrian Army militias in Syria could only dream of that level of organization. It is surely also what kept Ahrar al-Sham alive after the loss of most of its top-ranking leadership in September 2014, a blow so serious that few other groups could have survived it.

Abu Jaber seems to have bowed out gracefully. He has announced his resignation and the appointment of Abu Yahia on his personal Twitter account, commenting that ”the soldiers of Ahrar al-Sham are brought up to cling to the project rather than clinging to personalities. Whether moving from soldier to leader or from leader to soldier, all work under the same ceiling, which is obedience to God.” He is now being roundly praised by Ahrar al-Sham activists and supporters online for not clinging to office, as is the norm in Syrian rebel groups.

So far, then, the leadership change—Ahrar’s second in one year—seems to have gone very smoothly. Whether it will help solve the group’s internal contradictions remains to be seen. In terms of both ideology and alliances, Ahrar al-Sham still has one foot among the foreign-backed militias that depend on the largesse of Gulf Arab or Turkish sponsors, and must therefore do their bidding, and another in the hardline salafist camp that refuses to take instructions and gravitates towards al-Qaeda.

While the focus is now on the public replacement of Abu Jaber, and on the new leader Abu Yahia, the group’s rank and file is likely remain torn between these contradictory instincts. Ahmed Qara Ali says there are no new elections planned at the moment—for the political, military, media, organizational, etc, sub-offices—but at some point, Ahrar al-Sham will have to come down on one side or the other of the political gulf that it has tried to straddle since 2011.

— Aron Lund, editor of Syria in Crisis

Comments (18)


1. Majedkhaldoun said:

One of the leaders of ISIS, Abu Talha, was arrested today and by checking his phone it is found that he is member of Assad intelligenceمخابرات
We said it long time ago , ISIS is creation of Assad, ISIS has officers from Assad security , I Am talking about the leaders of IsIS, they penetrated ISIS, the truth is exposed now,

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September 13th, 2015, 12:45 am

 

2. ALAN said:

Saudi Arabia’s increase its military expenditures of 17 per cent making it the largest increase of any of the top 15 spenders worldwide.

‘While total world military spending is mostly unchanged, some regions, such as the Middle East and much of Africa, are continuing to see rapid build-ups that are placing an increasingly high burden on many economies’, ‘These increases partly reflect worsening security situations, but in many cases they are also the product of corruption, vested interests and autocratic governance.’

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September 13th, 2015, 9:58 am

 

3. ALAN said:

Obama! how much of a “success”, has your f**ng military had against Isis?
This Saturday marks one full year since the US military began its still-undeclared war against Islamic State that the government officials openly acknowledge will last indefinitely. What do Americans have to show for it? So far, billions of dollars have been spent, thousands of bombs have been dropped, hundreds of civilians have been killed and Isis is no weaker than it was last August, when the airstrikes began. The consensus view of the US intelligence agencies is that Isis is just as powerful as it was a year ago, and they can replace fighters faster than they are being killed. Like it does for every stagnant and endless war, this fact will likely will only lead others to call for more killing
This “catastrophic epic ” of American foreign and military policy, with billions spent for satanic destroying goals. That ISIS itself is supported by the US government, and used as “the stick” with which to prod stupid Americans into more grudging support of more ground wars of conquest in the Middle East and beyond.

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September 13th, 2015, 11:04 am

 
 

5. Martin said:

I have not so much a comment as a question. Abu yahya was arrested because he was thought to traffic foreign jihadists to Iraq. That sounds like the Syrian regime was serious cracking down on this phenomenon. That contradicts what I ( till now) always read. That the Syrian regime was heavy involved in this trafficking and giving it its blessing. Which of the two versions is true?

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September 13th, 2015, 4:11 pm

 

6. Majedkhaldoun said:

Jaish Al Islam does not desire desire to advance toward Damascus, only to have larger area control in the northeast of Damascus, however the regime is scared as he lost hundreds of soldiers

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September 13th, 2015, 9:21 pm

 

7. Hopeful said:

Sovereignty my ass Mr. assad! Now that Russians troops are officially in Syria, can you and your supporters at least admit that all that talk about the nation’s sovereignty was pure bullshit?

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September 14th, 2015, 12:42 am

 

8. ALAN said:

The U.S. plan to use the fight against the Islamic State as cover to remove the Syrian government is now in tatters. The months long U.S. supported “Southern Front” attack in south Syria failed to make any gains against the government. The Islamic State attack against Syrian government forces in Deir ez-Zor was repelled and further moves against Syria in the north will have to defy Russian air power.
Washington will now have to decide to risk war against Russia or to shelf the Syria regime change project.

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September 14th, 2015, 1:09 am

 

9. SimoHurtta said:

12. MAJEDKHALDOUN said:
…they are very honest people ,contrary to Shiite whose religion is 90% is taqyyeh , which means they never tell the truth, they Druze, believe in God , who has no son …

Well Majedkhaldoun with all your Sunni theological wisdom and knowledge of Sunni Islamic moral can you explain to us European more or less Christians, what is the Sunni theological explanation to recent news. SAUDI ARABIA HAS TAKEN FOUR (4) SYRIAN REFUGEES. And the rest of Gulf countries much under 50 in total. That is simply absurd considering what is now demanded from us.

Can you explain what in the Sunni theology and moral demands Christian countries thousands of kilometres away and completely different in habits, language, religion etc to take tens of thousands Syrian (Iraqi, Afghanistani) Sunni Muslims, mostly young men. Explain to us Finns why must we do this human contribution and help when rich Sunni states are not willing to take Sunni refugees in their countries where the refugees would have no difficulties to be productive members of the society at once. Same religion, mainly same habits, same language etc. In Finland it takes years before the refugees learn the language and find work, if they ever find it.

What is also the sense in that Gulf States are ready to finance building a oversized Mosque to Finland (and basically everywhere around the world) and use over 100 million Euro for that? Why not invest to schools and factories in Muslim countries?

Do you Majedkhaldoun really live in the West? Why don’t people like you move to the surrounding which you feel religiously and culturally comfortable, instead of living in a cultural surrounding you obviously despise and hate. What if an extremely narrow-minded fundamentalist Christian activist would live in the middle of Saudi Arabia or a Sunni with equal harsh religious opinions which you have in Teheran or Tel Aviv?

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September 14th, 2015, 4:40 am

 

10. Altair said:

8. Simohurtta

You pose some good questions about why Gulf countries don’t take in Syrian refugees. In fact, as soon as the crisis began, it immediately became more difficult for Syrians to even get visas to enter Saudi Arabia.

But before criticizing the whole region, it should be noted that one country alone, Turkey, has taken the most Syrian refugees, probably more than 2 million. And it is indeed a predominantly Sunni Muslim one. Europe hasn’t taken anywhere near than number, or even near the one million Syrians or more that Lebanon has taken.

I sympathize with you that Finland shouldn’t be responsible for the issue, but I would not extend that sympathy to France or Britain, the colonial powers that were key in severely messing up the region in the first half of the 20th century; or the US, the power that took over that role in the 20th century’s second half.

They have all been most ungenerous until now to Syrian refugees and have conveniently forgotten that it was their wars, WW1 and 2, that wreaked havoc and created seemingly permanent instability.

Back to the Saudis (who by the way, were helped into power by the British, who stabbed their Hashemite allies in the back).

I would suppose that Syrians, to the perception of the Saud ruling family, present more of a threat to them than to any European country.

The House of Saud rules Saudi Arabia like family property. It even named the country after the family. It shares the wealth very unequally with its “Saudi” citizens, and buys off opponents or potential opponents to keep them docile. Note that at the beginning of the “Arab Spring”, the Saudi government spent an extra $36 billion (probably more) to keep its population quiet, resources that the poorer governments, like Syria, didn’t have.

So a million or more Syrians, I presume, would present more potential opponents, people who speak the language and just might demand their rights. That’s an expensive proposition for a family that jealously guards its claim to all the oil resources of the country.

I would say it’s short-sighted thinking, but to a conservative Saudi royal, who has had the backing of American and British elites, it’s a tried and tested strategy. Why risk a different one?

It’s really got nothing to do with Islam, and even less to do with Arab culture, which historically had generosity as one of its main traits. It’s just pure self-interest, which is a polite word for selfishness.

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September 14th, 2015, 7:59 am

 

11. Hopeful said:

The “why should we help if others are not helping” argument is very sad. Humans should help others because they are humans, not because they are Arabs, Muslims, Sunnis, etc. Two wrongs do not make right. Forget about what the gulf states are doing or not doing, and just do what is right and what is human.

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September 14th, 2015, 2:38 pm

 

12. SimoHurtta said:

Hopefull one could agree if using the religion would not be so obvious on extreme Sunni side. The Gulf states are using religion all over the world to recruit people to Al Qaida and ISIS. The really sad thing is how religion is used to create chaos and war, not so much the lack of it in helping.

Let the leading Sunni theology experts here in SC’s comment section, Majedkhaldoun and Tara, now give their answer why the Gulf kings, who use religion in levels which we do not see in modern world elsewhere, do not help their Sunni brothers and sisters in need, but are willing to give unlimited access to weapons and money for religious Sunni terrorists and militias. We readers deserve their answer.

In helping humans own people come first, then the others. But the Sunni kings do not help their own or anybody else. During WW2 in 1939, when Soviet Union attacked Finland, Sweden took over 70,000 Finnish children to protection. They were taken in Swedish families and given the same as Swedes gave their own children. During that time the Finnish population was 3.7 million, meaning that compared to Syria the amount of evacuated children was 0.4 million. After the Winter War Finland had to resettle 20 percent of its population, those on the lost regions. For hundreds of thousands was organized farming land and help. This happened by dividing existing farms and giving raw land to the domestic immigrants. So we Finns know what these “problems” mean.

Finland just put border control on the western land border (Sweden), from where hundreds of young often Iraqi (not Syrians) men are coming as “refugees”. Many of them are economical immigrants from Kurdi areas using Syria as the excuse. Many of these refugees also throw away their papers and become “Syrians”. Let’s see how long EU’s patience lasts.

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September 14th, 2015, 4:08 pm

 

13. Hopeful said:

#11 Simohurtta

I am not in a position to defend or speak on behalf of the gulf states, but…

I reside in one of these states, and in this state, in the past 4 years, thousands of Syrians have been given visas to come in to work and study. I personally met many of them. There were given jobs, students visas and scholarships, and are now settled. They are from Homs, Daraa, Aleppo, Deir Azur and Damascus. Gulf states do not have “refugees” laws, but they have “immigrant workers” laws. I know the procedures have become slower, as these states now try to do more background checks before they let people in, in light of Assad’s constant threat to take the war to them, but they still let people in. I met new comers just last week who moved here from Aleppo. I am just stating the facts and everyone can make his/her own judgement.

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September 14th, 2015, 11:45 pm

 

14. SimoHurtta said:

Hopeful as Majedkhaldoun said Shias lie always (and obviously Sunnis never). Lets stick on that theological wisdom. There is a difference between immigration and refugee. There are tens if not hundreds of Syrians living in Finland, who came in the normal way as imigrants, not as refugees. The Gulf states have for decades only functioned with imported work force, so they have enough routines to handle refugees. Of course everybody understands the real reasons why the Gulf royals do not accept their own. People whose live and chances in life they with their religion, money, weapons and insane political plans and militias have destroyed.

Maybe the Gulf royals should have less camel races and trips to the western fun houses, so they could create policies for THEIR refugees. Millions will soon leave Yemen (population 24.4 million), where do they go? To Europe? I do not think so.

Let Hopeful Majedkhaldoun and Tara hopefully give the “formal” Sunni religious explanation why Saudi Arabia etc do not take Sunni refugees from Syria. As said Shias lie, Sunnis never. If Iran, Assad etc are here constantly blamed using religious rhetoric, now is the time to explain Sunni behaviour on state level using religious and moral reasoning.

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September 15th, 2015, 4:12 am

 

15. Sami said:

Simo,

How many Syrian refugees has Syria’s “allies” taken in? In Iran? In Russia? In North Korea?

You seem fixated with Syria’s “enemies” while giving their “allies” a pass… Considering their “religion, weapons, and militias” are causing havoc on Syrian and forcing them for refuge

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September 15th, 2015, 7:40 am

 

16. SANDRO LOEWE said:

ALAN, if you were really a syrian (we all know you are not) you would be most likely executed the first day Syria is freed from the hands of the sectarian dictatorship. You and all those who have been supporting the permanent massacre from the first day of the peacefull revolution will be finished.

Worse even, instead of asking asylum in Iran you are pretending to be a syrian beneffiting from the freedom you deny to syrian people.

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September 15th, 2015, 11:47 am

 

17. Hopeful said:

#13 Simo

On the one hand you say there is a difference between refugees and immigrants (which I agree), and on the other hand you say that the gulf states immigration laws should allow them to handle refugees (which I do not agree with). Finland, as most western countries, have both laws, and allow both immigrants and refugees. Gulf states, like almost all third world countries (including Iran and Syria), do not have refugee laws. Refugee laws mean 1) government subsidies from tax payers, and 2) a path to citizenship. None of these works in non democratic societies.

Of all the countries, only Turkey has done its share, formally, with helping the refugees. Turkish tax payers money is helping the refugees. In Lebanon and Jordan, Syrian refugees are either “temp visitors” who must pay to play, or “camp residents” funded by the international donors money left after all the corrupt government officials take their share first.

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September 15th, 2015, 1:33 pm

 

18. erin said:

Admin why my comment always goes to moderation, is my account hacked or blocked. !

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September 16th, 2015, 5:28 am

 

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