Commander of the Great Prophet Border battalion, Abu Udai as-Suri, said the situation inside Syria is bad, but the morale of the rebels is high in an interview with Al-Hayat
"This includes all rebel factions except ISIS," he said, adding, "I don’t consider ISIS among the rebels, the spirits of rebels are high."
Unfortunately, there is weakness among some of the leaders of the groups and brigades, and they discourage some rebels."
Abu Udai said that "when ISIS came to Syria under the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, I fought beside them in several battles. On the day of the liberation of Raqqa, ISIS members were racing to break into the city. This was in the beginning, as it fought the regime with us," he said.
"But about eight months ago, they completely stopped fighting the regime. ISIS supporters are killing the rebels today. There was a massacre in Azaz, but the problem was solved. How?"
"ISIS members use extortion, either they would enforce what they want, or threaten with bombing and suicide attacks, and thus ISIS took control of the liberated areas.
He said ISIS went to Deir El-Zor months ago and bought the oil wells and graineries.
Asked whether ISIS is a pro-regime force, Abu Udai said he was not ashamed to say "90% yes," but added that "I will leave the 10% remaining to think of ISIS crimes, not to defend them, because I eventually became sure that they belong to the regime."
"During the battles in the vicinity of Aleppo between ISIS and the Free Syrian Army, they had a stockpiles of grain for two years, they hid it far away in Deir El-Zor, then they made a deal with the regime, and sold it a kilogram of grain at the price of 8 Syrian Pounds while its actual price, according to the quality, ranges between 30 and 100 SP," he explained.
"Then the regime started transporting this grain to his regions."
"The rebels in Deir El-Zor sent me details of the convoys and car types and colors to hit them before they arrived at Damascus if we could, because we camped in a place close to the road. I told my soldiers: Tomorrow or the day after, cars with these specifications will pass, and actually this is what happened, the grain was randomly packed in the cars, without filling it in bags or covering it. "
"What else could I see to convince me that ISIS works for the regime? If ISIS sells grain at cheap prices to the regime, and the people around them are starving, and the fuel they sell and smuggle to Turkey comes back to Latakia for the benefit of the regime, and then to Damascus, how can we deny that ISIS works for the regime?"
"The regime's cleverness lies in selling this grain for less than half the price, in order to ensure the support of his loyalists. As for the reason why foreign fighters fight beside ISIS, it is clear that it collaborates with the regime," Abu Udai answered: "The honorable among them defected, and the rest are misled. They perform what their Emir says without thinking, and the most obedient and compliant are coming from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region. Mostly young, excited, they do not know anything about the war or about the real situation in Syria, except of what is in the surroundings of their camps and what the Emir says. Most of them blow themselves up without question, while those from other countries are older and know how to fight."
"Overall, their brutality is something I had not seen before, and their brutality towards rebels this way goes beyond this war, it is as if there is a vengence between us and them. The surprising thing is that they appoint children as young as 17 -year-old as princes! I once went to an area around Aleppo to negotiate with them on the issue of prisoners, and I was talking with an old man, I thought he was their leader, suddenly he said: address the Prince Abu Udai.
"We have prisoners from ISIS, mostly Arabs, and I know brigades that have members in ISIS from Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries. After capturing them, they say: we came to fight the regime, but we found ourselves fighting you after they convinced us that you are apostates and infidels. Generally, many of ISIS members defect and turn to the Nusra Front and the Islamic Front. The majority of ISIS members are from Tunisia and Libya, those are the most extreme while the Saudis are used in suicide operations."
"The fight is fierce between them and the Nusra Front, and they say that the Front was with us then they changed their minds and they should be fought."
"The problem is that they deceive their members by changing Shariah according to their whims"
On the contributions of Christians in the revolution, Abu Udai sais: "we had Christians with us in our group and they helped us a lot. The Christians have helped us with indescribable things. They say that Christians are against us, and this is a lie, most of them are with the FSA and they help us, especially in the medical field, and as guides telling us if the roads are empty from regime soldiers."
"But ISIS, as usual, spoils everything, it has legalized the theft of their money, their wives and their blood. That’s why many of the Christians either traveled or stood with the regime. Our revolution is neither religious nor sectarian, we want a country to hold us all, a country preserves our dignity.
Translated and edited By The Syrian Observer