Al-Qaeda's Syria’s wing, the Nusra Front, has posted a video of a former Syrian army soldier urging his Alawite fellows to defect as he did.
Al Manarah al-Bayda’a (The White Minaret) website, which exclusively posts statements and footage for the Nusra Front, posted the video claiming to be an interview with Ammar Hamza Rached, who was held captive by the militant group months ago.
Rached says in the clip that he is no longer a captive, but is fighting in Nusra’s ranks after the real truth had been revealed to him.
Rached, who was born in Mentar village in the eastern countryside of Homs, predominantly populated by those from the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, says he learned how to pray and how to serve his religion honestly, according to the video.
Rached called on his ex-comrades to defect since Bashar al-Assad has not considered their fight and their sacrifice.
Alawites have been worried by recent attempts by the Nusra Front to advance closer to their areas, said an anti-Assad Alawite who lives near the coast, speaking via Skype to Reuters.
"The Alawite community is afraid. People here are angry. They're upset that the government abandoned those soldiers. They are also worried now that the battles are coming so close," said the activist, contacted via the internet, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of fears for his safety.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer