“The Formation of Alawite Militias in the Kassab region,” by Mohammad D.

The Formation of Alawite Militias in the Kassab region
By Mohammad D.
For Syria Comment, Sept 5, 2012

There are important new developments in Lattakia and its surrounding recently.  The violence that started a few months back in the East and North of the city itself has not subsided.  Yesterday a rumor spread that the FSA had shelled al-Qurdaha, something its leaders have been wishing to do from day one.  I think it is just a rumor, but, the big news is that the Alawis have started to form armed groups in some of the villages which are in direct contact with the Sunni villages.

The Alawis in areas that are not near the front lines have also begun amassing small arms.  They have also begun to form similar groups.  One of these groups appeared in the area of Jabal al-Turkman (North of Lattakia).  These new fighters are known locally as al-Lijan al-Sha’biyah (اللجان الشعبية).  So far they have light arms only.  The Assad regular troops are doing the heavy bombing and own the heavy arms.  Here is a link to their facebook page, which lists them as al-Muqawamah al-Suriyah (The Syrian Resistance).

In this Facebook page, one can see that the newly formed group has been engaging in military action against the Sunnis from that area.  The Sunnis (Turkmen) had formed their own brigade, which is fighting under the banner of the Free Syria Army (FSA).  The FSA has attacked the nearby Alawi villages on many occasions.  One Alawi village; al-Sarayah, has been emptied of its inhabitants, except the men who are armed and fighting along side others in al-Lijan al-Sha’biyah.  The Sunnis have also left their villages and gone to either Turkey or Lattakia city.  Lattakia is now overflowing with refugees and villagers escaping violence.  There are lots of people from Allepo there also.  The sports complex is packed with the poor refugees, The rich ones are renting apartments or rooms.  Also, to the East of Lattakia in al-Haffe region, fighting is still raging on.  The sound of artillery and explosions can be heard in Lattakia.  The situation on the coast  is explosive and growing more dangerous every week.

Another interesting phenomenon is that Turkish Alawis are writing in Turkish on the same Facebook page — http://www.facebook.com/syr.moqawama — that is being used by Syrian Alawis. This seems to indicate that Alawis in Syria and Turkey are starting to work together.


Picture of Kassab, near the Turkish border

End of Commentary by Mohammad D.

A different take on what happened in Qassab from the Guardian
Our colleague Mona Mahmood has been speaking on the phone to Lieut Col Abu Ahmed of the rebel Ahrar al-Sahel brigade which is fighting in the Latakia area. This is what he told her.

We have two military [observation] towers for the Syrian army in Latakia countryside which are used as bases to attack and shell people living in villages nearby.

There were six tanks at al-Qassab tower and another six at al-Barouda tower. These 16 tanks claimed the lives of many civilians and wounded many of them, in addition to the great damage they caused to the houses. They were based on high hills and overlook wide areas.

We as the revolutionary military command in Latakia decided to launch an operation against these towers to curb their damage. We did the required intelligence and reconnaissance secretly before the operation and chose the brigades to carry out the operation last Monday at four in the morning and with more than 650 fighters.

We were able to get control of al-Qassab tower completely and destroy five of the tanks inside, except for a tank and rocket launcher which are under a siege by our fighters. We were engaged in clashes with the Syrian army in control of al-Barouda tower and were able to push them backward.

As a result of the attack, we lost 28 martyrs and 40 wounded while the Syrian army lost 70 soldiers and 120 wounded. We were able to capture 11 members of the Syrian army and took them as hostages.

We work in the countryside of Latakia which is liberated of the Syrian army now – al-Akrad mountain and 90% of Turkman mountain is liberated. The liberation war is still going on from the countryside to reach the heart of [Latakia city].

It is difficult now to get work inside the city, it is cut off by many checkpoints and full of Syrian army and shabiha.

All the villages we are in control of now are Sunni. So far, the position of the Alawites in Latakia is ambiguous. We want a clear stance from them. We have sent them many messages telling them that we are not against them or targeting them but when their villages are used as a base for tanks to launch attacks against other part of Latakia, they become like witnesses to the killing of the Syrian people.

Personally I support that we join the Syrian National Army but we will hold a meeting for all the commanders of the revolutionary military command in Latakia to discuss [it] and will take a decision whether to join or not

Ghufran wrote in the comment section:

“This is a corrupt, undemocratic police state, but what is going on is not a war in Syria but a battle by outside players for Syria,” he said in an August interview in an office at the Writers Union building in Amman.

Mr. Muwaffaq Mahadin, a prominent opposition figure who writes for the independent Jordanian daily Al-Arab Al-Yawm, has extensive pro-democracy credentials. He was arrested several times for his political views and was even forced to flee the country for a decade, living in exile between Beirut and Damascus.

These days some revile him as a conspiracy theorist while others call him courageous. Regardless, his columns fuel heated debate among Jordanian intellectuals.

Over the years he spent in Damascus, Mr. Mahadin built strong ties with the Syrian opposition. He says the revolt in Syria was initially a spontaneous uprising of the street but was later hijacked by international powers in order to gain dominance in the region.

A group of 230 influential figures have signed an open letter in the press demanding that Jordan stand with Syria in the face of a global conspiracy.

Comments (379)

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351. Richard said:

336. Ghufran said:
“The problem with the opposition is that they want a government that only represents them, I want elections to decide who heads the country and the government , it is not the job of the SNC, the GCC or the West to decide who should win or lose.”

There was talk of elections around the start of Kofi Annan’s tenure. Russia supported elections. The sticking point was whether Assad would resign prior to elections, which would add legitimacy to process. My impression was that Assad was unwilling to turn-over power to election result, perhaps your opinion is different.

Elections are preferred approach, sure, but they simply can’t happen now. The only practical path is to follow the Libyan model, where a reasonably representative provisional government is formed. Of course we know that Libyan council was flawed, some tribes in Misrata & Western Libya grumbled. But it worked well enough until elections could be held.
I realize Syria is much more difficult with its religous mix. But even in Libya, people said the tribal tensions presented impossible barrier. The impossible has to be overcome in Syria.

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September 8th, 2012, 11:24 pm


352. Syrialover said:

I post the upsetting item below to acknowledge the deaths of these brave ordinary Syrians and prove they are not the foreign fighters as the regime and its supporters hysterically claim.

Article: killed in an instant: Moment a Syrian rebel checkpoint takes direct hit is captured in powerful photographs that show the cost of war


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September 8th, 2012, 11:27 pm


353. Johannes de Silentio said:

321 VAT

“I am not going to give a cyber-female the leeway.”

Good one there, VATTY. That was a really smooth move on your part. I’m sure Tara was mesmerized by your hands-on, take-charge approach

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September 8th, 2012, 11:30 pm


354. Richard said:

336. Ghufran said:
“national reconciliation not revenge or counter killing is what put S.Africa on the right track, do not waste your time trying to find the word ” reconciliation ” in the dictionary of militant Muslims and their backers on this forum.”

You are describing an obstacle to be overcome. Militants will have to have limited representation in a provisional government. Islamicists had some voice on the Libyan Transitional Council.

Oh, and remember, foreigners will have zero presence in a transitional government.

ps. It occurs to me that I have developed a “Lawrence of Arabia” complex, telling the “little peoples” of Arabia to unite. Heee Heee. My middle name is even “Lawrence.” I don’t blame you all if you want to hate me. Heck, great loves often start with hatred.

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September 8th, 2012, 11:36 pm


355. Syrialover said:

#339 Ghufran, you are DETERMINED to paint as bleak and pessimistic and frightening picture about Syria’s future as you possibly can.

Imagine if others thought like you. Thank God many millions of Syrians don’t.

I hope you will stay well away in the post-Assad recovery phase. Your attitude would be toxic fumes among those who will be courageously and energetically and optimistically getting on with the future.

I’ve challenged you on this before. Is there anything you could possibly do personally to assist in the restoration and rebirth of Syria?

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September 8th, 2012, 11:38 pm


356. zoo said:

341. Ghufran

Thanks to the LA times story you posted, we are back to the middle age when excited warriors would gather to watching the lynching of their evil enemies in an extatic jubilation, shouting “God is with us”

A interesting glimpse at what the Ommayad square may be used for in the ‘Post-Bashar” era.

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September 8th, 2012, 11:50 pm


357. Ghufran said:

You are right, I am a pessimist now but that does not mean I did not help Syrians in the past or that I will not help Syrians in the future, my obligation towards Syria is not affected by who resides in almuhajireen presidential palace, most Syrians today are paying for the sins of their government and the new thugs who want to establish another dictatorship in Syria, my focus was and still is helping Syrians in need. Sending money to buy weapons is not my type of charity.

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September 8th, 2012, 11:57 pm


358. zoo said:


Why are you trying to depict the future of Syria in such dark terms?
You need to be severely scolded.
Don’t worry, you will get what you deserve in terms of advices until you accept to sing in the chorus that all will be rosy in OZ when the wizard will be gone.

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September 9th, 2012, 12:04 am


359. Syrialover said:


I am not talking about sending money to buy weapons. There are a lot of organizations providing help and hope to refugees.

And I am sure you are not far away from some organizations that are thinking about and working on ideas and plans to help post-Assad Syria.

Competent expatriate Syrians will have a big role in expertise and support and encouragement to play – not just charity.

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September 9th, 2012, 12:04 am


360. zoo said:

To whom it may concern

We now know that local Syrians who never left Syria and who suffered that messy revolution are worthless.
Long live to the brilliant experts expats, the saviors of the Post Basha era…

Do you think that’s how loud voice cowards deserve to be welcomed?

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September 9th, 2012, 12:10 am


361. Ghufran said:

A good story from Syria:
أنباء عن تحرير المختطفين في قرية القصب.. طريق اللاذقية حلب القديم التي شهدت أحداثاً طوال الأيام الماضية
الأنباء تتحدث عن تحرير حوالي 75 شخص من سكان القرية .. و وصول عدد منهم إلى مدينة اللاذقية بعد وساطة و مفاوضات جرت مع عدد من رجال الدين
More often than not,when Syrians from outside the two fighting factions intervene to solve problems, solutions can be found.
This is the third success story I read in similar situations in the last two weeks.
SL, expats can and should help, the extent of that help depends on the level of violence and the type of treatment expats receive from the Syrian government, I am not a fan of charity organizations, I prefer direct private channels.

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September 9th, 2012, 12:14 am


362. Syrialover said:


You are telling us that you think Syrians are different from the many successful expatriate Afghans and Iraqis (and now Libyans and Tunisians) who returned and invested individual energy and funds in trying to rebuild their country.

The first two largely failed and had to withdraw because of security reasons. But I guess that’s what you are craving will happen in Syria too to prove your point about the wrongness of opposing Assad.

You make us wonder what it is you stand to lose and what makes you think so little of Syrians.

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September 9th, 2012, 12:22 am


363. Syrain said:

A Syrain man comes out from under his bombed house and sends a message to Bashar

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September 9th, 2012, 12:47 am


364. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships said:

There goes Ghufran again: @357
طريق اللاذقية حلب القديم التي شهدت أحداثاً طوال الأيام الماضية
الأنباء تتحدث عن تحرير حوالي 75 شخص من سكان القرية
Where did you get these nuggets of information..you seem loathe to tell us. Why?

Tracey Shelton, a courageous Australian foto-journo with the GlobalPost has been reporting from Syria. Don’t know if this has been posted here already, but if yes, sorry for the repetition.


and an amazing series of stills:


BTW, the latter link contains an article titled:


by the same TS. Just so that people don’t think me totally one-sided 😉

I could easily write a very long and point by point counter argument to what the young daughters say to the journalist, but there is no need. All pro-freedom posters here can do that and already know the answers to such claims and fears.

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September 9th, 2012, 1:39 am


365. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships said:

And here is an an interview by Ch4 with Tracey herself:


Tracey Shelton ‏@tracey_shelton
“As horrible as it sounds, I was actually picking small pieces of flesh and debris from my backpack the following day.”

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September 9th, 2012, 2:07 am


366. Syrialover said:

# 360. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships

No matter how much footage I see or how many accounts I read, it is still a raw shock to see ordinary Syrian people in their homes being randomly bombed and destroyed by military force.

And for no known reason or strategy except to terrorize civilians and satisfy primitive chaotic impulses by those directing it to be done. That’s basically how I’ve heard puzzled expert military observers sum it up.

That first video by Tracey Shelton you linked showing that tiny boy rescued from the rubble where all his family died and the targeting of a hospital tells the world everything about how debased, out of control and driven by sheer hatred of humanity the Assad regime has become.

They could not sink any further.

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September 9th, 2012, 4:22 am


367. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships said:


Just one small correction above, if I may:

“…how out of control and driven by sheer hatred of humanity the Assad regime has become” —> “…the Assad regime was,is and always will be

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September 9th, 2012, 5:22 am


368. Juergen said:

The last 53 seconds in the live of three men

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September 9th, 2012, 6:53 am


369. Antoine said:

347. Halabi said:

“This is the attempt to recapture the barracks and military recruitment facility in Hanano.


Lol the destroyed building (looks more like a Prison) still has some of the words of “Umma Arabiya Wa7ida zat” painted over the facade.

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September 9th, 2012, 6:55 am


370. Observer said:


I would like to point out that equating the regime and the opposition in your assessment of guilt is not acceptable.
The regime claiming legitimacy is obligated by all internal and external and international norms and laws to uphold the security and the well being of its people.
The opposition has picked up arms in self defense in response to the brutality of the regime.
I challenge the regime to withdraw its heavy weapons and to cease firing indiscriminately and let us see how much destruction the opposition will continue to meet out.

Your description of Izas being destroyed by the action of both is dishonest as the 99% of the destruction was meted out in simple revenge and under the slogan Assad or we burn Albalad.

So here are my questions
Are you a pacifist, and this means that you will not fight back even if attacked and continue to protest peacefully, and if so do you expect the others to sit and wait while they watch their children tortured to death and their women raped and their houses destroyed.
If you are not a pacifist then you would recognize the right of self defense and in that situation where is your argument that the people cannot and should not defend themselves.


Can you distract us with more news from Putin and Co


Where are you I do miss your comments and I look forward to them and I truly am disappointed each time I check and you are not there.

I do miss their posts

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September 9th, 2012, 8:40 am


371. zoo said:

Interesting article (in french) from a journalist opposed to the regime but realistic. He analyzes well the background, fears and motivation of the Alawite community and the dangers of the Islamist excesses in the region.

Are our ministers badly advised or naive on Syria?

Nos ministres sont-ils mal conseillés ou naïfs sur la Syrie?


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September 9th, 2012, 8:51 am


372. zoo said:

A joyful wedding in Hatay with pro-Bashar Alawite Turks

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September 9th, 2012, 8:55 am


373. zoo said:

Turkey is now hosting another wanted criminal..

Fugitive Iraqi VP sentenced to death


An Iraqi judge sentenced fugitive Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi to death by hanging for the murder of a lawyer and a brigadier general today, an AFP correspondent reported.

His secretary and son-in-law Ahmed Qahtan was also sentenced to die.

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September 9th, 2012, 9:00 am


374. Antoine said:

OBSERVER, Ghufran is not a pacifist, not at all. He supports Hamas, Hezbollah, PFLP, PFLP-GC, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Saddam, and Gaddafi. He supports the mass detention and mass execution of Islamist opponents of Arab dictatorships. He supports the killing and persecution of his ideological opponents since the 1950s and 1960s. He and his prototype is the reason why he have so much of hate in Syria today.

According to Ghufran and his sort, those who oppose an anti-Western Arab dictatorships on ideological or religious grounds, are in the same moral trench as israel and Zionists. It is a simple equation for them. Thousands of young lives were snuffed out in Egypt and Syria in the 1960s using this simple equation.

His sort will rot in Prisons after the Talia Muqatila come to power in Syria. Talia Muqatila have a long blood feud with Ghufran’s sort, when I mean “blood feud”, I really mean it, his sort will not be able to live in peace even in New York or Paris, they will be hunted down by the Talia Muqatila, the same people his sort are having a blood feud since July 22 1952.

If you can guess, Talia Muqatila represents the will of the majority of the Syrian people, the common man, the “small man”, the small, humble Syrian citizen.

SOURCE : Persons from both sides who were active participants in the “blood feud” between the State and its Islamist opponents, in Syria and Egypt, in the 1950s and 1960s.

An old, withered aquaintance of mine, who worked in a high-ranking position in the Egyptian Prison Service at the time Sayyid Qutb was hanged, has lost his nerves after Morsi came to power.

I hope to receive a reply to this comment, OBSERVER. I would also like your own thoughts about this “blood feud”.

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September 9th, 2012, 9:05 am


375. Antoine said:

369. ZOO said:

“A joyful wedding in Hatay with pro-Bashar Alawite Turks”


I can’t believe how easy those Hatay Alawis are having it in democratic Turkey. They are getting off lightly. They are basically disagreeing with and opposing the National Foreign Policy. This is a grave crime in the eyes of a totalitarian State. Erdogan is letting them off lightly.

Syrian Sunnis did not have the same luxury in 1976 when Hafez attacked the PLO, nor did Syrian Christians have the same luxury in 1981 when Hafez was shelling Zahle and East Beirut.

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September 9th, 2012, 9:10 am


376. zoo said:

Are these Hollande’s predictions of imminent major defections?


Two Syrian diplomats in Malaysia announced late on Friday that they had joined the opposition, according to a report by pan-Arab television channel Al Arabiya.

Two men identifying themselves as First Secretary Imad Ahmar and Attaché Mahmoud Obedi from Syria’s Kuala Lumpur embassy read out a statement on the channel declaring their “support for the Syrian people’s revolution against the tyrannical regime”.

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September 9th, 2012, 9:14 am


377. zoo said:

Bad news for the opposition: It is increasingly confirmed that the FSA is been taken over by Islamists.

Jihadists join Aleppo fight, eye Islamic state, French surgeon from Doctors without Borders says

By John Irish
PARIS | Sat Sep 8, 2012 4:20pm BST

(Reuters) – Foreign Islamists intent on turning Syria into an autocratic theocracy have swollen the ranks of rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad and think they are waging a “holy war”, a French surgeon who treated fighters in Aleppo has said.

Jacques Beres, co-founder of medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, returned from Syria on Friday evening after spending two weeks working clandestinely in a hospital in the besieged northern Syrian city.

In an interview with Reuters in his central Paris apartment on Saturday, the 71-year-old said that contrary to his previous visits to Homs and Idlib earlier this year about 60 percent of those he had treated this time had been rebel fighters and that at least half of them had been non-Syrian.

“It’s really something strange to see. They are directly saying that they aren’t interested in Bashar al-Assad’s fall, but are thinking about how to take power afterwards and set up an Islamic state with sharia law to become part of the world Emirate,” the doctor said.

The foreign jihadists included young Frenchmen who said they were inspired by Mohammed Merah, a self-styled Islamist militant from Toulouse, who killed seven people in March in the name of al-Qaeda.

Assad himself has consistently maintained that the 17-month-old insurgency against him is largely the work of people he refers to as “foreign-backed terrorists” and says his forces are acting to restore stability.

During his previous visits to Syria – in March and May – Beres said he had dismissed suggestions the rebels were dominated by Islamist fighters but he said he had now been forced to reassess the situation.

The doctor’s account corroborates other anecdotal evidence that the struggle against Assad appears to be drawing ever greater numbers of fellow Arabs and other Muslims, many driven by a sense of religious duty to perform jihad (holy war) and a readiness to suffer for Islam.

But while some are professional “jihadists”, veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya or Libya who bring combat and bomb-making skills with them that alarm the Western and Arab governments which have cheered the rebels on, many have little to offer Syrians but their goodwill and prayers.

Beres described treating dozens of such jihadists from other Arab countries, but also at least two young Frenchmen.

“Some of them were French and completely fanatical about the future,” he said. “They are very cautious people, even to the doctor who treated them. They didn’t trust me, but for instance they told me that Mohammed Merah was an example to follow.”

Merah tore a wound in France’s fragile sense of community in March when he gunned down three soldiers from North African immigrant families, a rabbi and three Jewish children.

Paris has for several years been concerned that French radical Islamists who have travelled to lawless zones would return to plot attacks at home. Merah had travelled to Afghanistan and Pakistan to receive training.

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September 9th, 2012, 9:26 am


378. Son of Damascus said:

In order for any reconciliation to ever happen the abuser has to recognize their hand in the bloodshed. To expect dialogue unconditionally with those that perpetrated the overwhelming majority of the crimes, bloodshed and destruction is just not feasible. Not at this point.

To this day you can’t get a clear condemnation by the supporters for the crimes perpetrated by the regime, let alone to get the regime to admit to what it did. If this regime ever wanted dialogue they would have implemented at least ONE POINT from the Annan 6 point plan.

While maybe the majority of the victims won’t ever get the justice they deserve, they at the very least deserve ACCOUNTABILITY.


@Makdissi Have compassion on our family and release our son, Austin Tice to us.


@DebraTice if he is to be found inside Sy. Iam def sure ur gov will B notified. R u sure he is inside Syria? Reports he entered illegally

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September 9th, 2012, 9:30 am


379. jna said:

133. VISITOR said:
“The US government must do something about it other than just mere condemnation or invoking the mantra of free speech.”

Free speech in the US is not a mantra. It is the right of U.S. citizens guaranteed by the Constitution. It is about as sacred to many Americans as Mohammed is to many Muslims. Just as Muslims reject the notion that a crazy Muslim represents Islam, so Americans reject the notion that a crazy American represents the US. What’s so hard to understand about this?

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September 13th, 2012, 11:04 am


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