France arrests former leader of “Jaysh al-Islam”… Faction comments
France has arrested the former spokesperson for Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam), Islam Alloush on charges of war crimes, reported the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression.
The center stated that the French authorities arrested Alloush on Wednesday, 29 January, on charges of war crimes, torture, conspiracy in forced disappearances when the faction was active in Eastern Ghouta, in the suburbs of Damascus.
The center added that the Army of Islam is accused of committing systematic international crimes against civilians between 2013 and 2018 in Eastern Ghouta.
The faction is also suspected of having kidnapped, detained and tortured human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouneh, Wael Hamada, co-founder of the local coordination committees (LCC), and two of their colleagues, political activist Samira al-Khalil and human rights lawyer Nazem Al-Hammadi (The Douma Four).
Besides, the center stressed that Alloush was indicted by the war crimes unit of the Paris Tribunal for war crimes and his engagement in “the forced enlistment of children into armed groups,” pointing out that “many victims also directly incriminate him for kidnapping and torture.”
The military spokesperson of Army of Islam, Hamza Bayrakdar, for his part, affirmed the arrest of Islam Alloush by the French police.
Bayrakdar, in an interview with Enab Baladi, described the accusations levelled against Alloush as “incitement and disinformation carried out by those who call themselves the center of documentation.”
Bayrakdar added that “these accusations, such as accusing the Army of Islam of committing war crimes and others, are false and void.”
Moreover, Bayrakdar considered that laying these charges against the Army of Islam is an indication of the “relentless pursuit of some of those who proclaimed themselves as the supporters of the Syrian revolution to cover up the crimes of the al-Assad regime and its Iranian and Russian allies.”
He continued, “all these pointing-fingers and accusations against the rebels are false and baseless. They are trying to dismiss the demand for prosecuting and convicting criminals.”
Bayrakdar added that “a new chapter in the chapters of striking the revolution and the revolutionaries started, by working to demonize, discredit and defame them.”
Furthermore, Bayrakdar confirmed the start of taking steps to refute these allegations.
Islam Alloush served as the spokesperson of the Army of Islam since the beginning of its formation in Eastern Ghouta by Zahran Alloush.
Alloush moved from Syria to Turkey in 2015 to run the office of the “Army of Islam spokesperson in Turkey.”
In June 2015, Alloush announced his resignation from all his duties in the Army of Islam and its affiliate institutions. Moreover, Alloush marked the end of using the name of Islam Alloush and the return of using his real name, Magdi Mustafa Nehme.
The incident of a leader’s arrest in the ranks of the Syrian opposition factions is not the first of its kind in Europe. Some opposition faction members were charged with human rights violations during their armed action in Syria.
However, European countries have previously arrested elements and officers who fought or worked in the ranks of the regime forces on charges of war crimes.
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