The decision of the tripartite committee charged with investigating violations of the Suleiman Shah Division and its leader Mohammed al-Jassem, a.k.a. Abu Amsha, has provoked reactions in northern Syria. The responses come amidst voices demanding accountability after his removal. Meanwhile, tribal statements rejected the decision and warned of sedition.
On Wednesday, the tripartite committee announced the removal of Abu Amsha from all his assigned duties. The committee revealed that he would not take up any official post later “because of the proven claims, and to spare the region of potential fighting, blood, and strife”.
The removal also included several leaders of the faction, most notably Abu Amsha brothers Walid (Saif) and Malik (Abu Siraj), as well as Ahmed Mohammed Khoja, Amer Azab al-Mohammed, and Hassan Khaled al-Satouf (Abu Sakher).
The decision came two months after the committee pursued and heard testimony in the Sheikh Hadid district of rural Afrin.
The committee also questioned Abu Amsha, despite obstacles to its work and recent threats from faction leaders, the commission said in a statement.
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The committee comprises three members of the Syrian Islamic Council: Abdul Alim Abdullah, Ahmed al-Alwan, and Muwaffaq al-Omar.
Activists on social media called for accountability for the figures who the committee decided to remove, and not just to isolate Abu Amsha and his leaders.
Activists also called on the National Army and military bodies to announce their position following the commission’s decision.
Activists expressed the hope that the removal of Abu Amsha would be the beginning of the removal of other leaders, who are also believed to have committed abuses.
Human rights activists support
For its part, the Sharia Council of Aleppo governorate supported the resolution and called for “the delivery of justice for the oppressed and compensation, after the impugned leaders were found to have committed crimes and violations.”
“What the committee issued about Field Marshal Abu Amsha is just a recommendation,” said lawyer Ghazwan Kronfol. “The committee has referred its execution order and accountability for crimes to decision-makers and influential parties in those areas. Therefore the prosecutor must now issue an indictment and bring a public claim against Abu Amsha and the rest of his gang. And the executive force must implement the decision to dismiss the culprits from their positions and bring them before the judiciary,” he said.
On the other hand, statements were issued on behalf of the tribes of al-Bakara, Damalakha, al-Naim, and al-Bunni Khaled in northern Syria. The statements rejected the committee’s decision, describing it as sedition.
The statements expressed their total rejection of the committee’s decision, considering it unsubstantiated and capable of provoking “sedition and bloodshed”.
They demanded that the committee’s decision be overturned and that Abu Amsha receive support in the event of any fighting and his (legal) defense.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.