“Abu Amsha” shuffles judiciary cards, reveals factions discords
Enab Baladi – Hassan Ibrahim
The isolated leader Mohammed al-Jassem, known as Abu Amsha, managed to draw attention to the celebrations of the 11th anniversary of the Syrian revolution by assuming a military position in the Revolutionaries for Liberation opposition faction despite his dismissal over accusations of corruption and numerous violations.
It also highlighted the inability of the armed opposition to achieve justice and hold accountable the perpetrators of violations by the elements and leaders in its ranks, despite promises to transfer the files to the judiciary; the appearance of Abu Amsha in a public gathering, despite his criminalization of several violations, deepened the divisions between the military factions.
On the 11th anniversary of the Syrian revolution, the Revolutionaries for Liberation faction released a statement for Abu Amsha as a member of its leadership council.
The appearance of Abu Amsha in a new military position within a unit of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) sparked anger and outrage on social media, especially since it came after several decisions by the tripartite committee that was investigating violations he committed with members of his faction, including his dismissal from his position, banning him from taking up future “revolutionary” positions, and exile outside the Olive Branch areas (Afrin and its countryside).
Corrupt man but morals defender
In his speech, Abu Amsha spoke about not being self-complacent until the goal is achieved in “the free, democratic and plural Syria” and work to overthrow the regime, and moving on with the revolution to protect “the blood of the martyrs,” stressing that “the revolution and freedom are a right demand.”
But the tripartite committee composed of members of the Syrian Islamic Council, which investigated the violations of the Amashat in relation to Mohammed al-Jassem and his brothers, issued a statement last February charging Abu Amsha and close aides.
Most prominent of the committee decisions were sending away Abu Amsha and his two brothers, Walid al-Jassem (Saif) and Malik al-Jassem (Abu Siraj), outside the Olive Branch area of operations (Afrin city and its countryside) for two “Hijri” years.
It also included the incrimination of Abu Amsha and five leaders of his faction with corruption, ordering him to pay compensations to those affected financially, and the dismissal of Abu Amsha from all his duties and not appointing him in any “revolutionary position” later.
Accountability not exist
The Unified Command Room (Azm), a key alliance of armed factions affiliated with the National Army, confirmed its commitment to implementing any decision issued by the tripartite committee regarding The Amashat, about a month before the investigation committee’s decisions were issued.
But Azm’s promises at the time were the result of the pressures that the investigation committee was subjected to, the military and security alerts conducted by the Suleiman Shah Division in the Sheikh al-Hadid area, and the reluctance of some people to give testimony condemning Abu Amsha, for fear of revenge from the leaders loyal to him.
And after the decisions of the committee, which approved the responsibility of Abu Amsha and ruled that justice and reparation for the oppressed and compensation for the affected should be the responsibility of decision-makers and influence holders on the ground in the region.
Azm vowed to implement the decisions and to transfer complaints to the judiciary, which will follow up all complaints submitted and contained in investigations against the leaders, and pledged to work to “support the oppressed and establish justice.”
Convicted or leader
The emergence of Abu Amsha in a new leadership position revealed the rift between the factions and formations of the National Army. He is, according to the committee’s decisions, a convicted, accused, isolated, and exiled man in the Afrin regions, especially the Sheikh al-Hadid region, but on the other hand, he is a new member of the leadership council of the Revolutionaries for Liberation faction.
Cleric Abdulalim Abdullah, one of the members of the tripartite committee, appeared in a video recording on 10 March after circulating clipped audio recordings deluding that Abu Amsha was acquitted of the charges against him.
Abdullah stressed that all the committee’s decisions were right and were issued unanimously, based on what was proven by the committee of facts and witnesses.
A source familiar with the committee’s work, who declined to be named for security reasons, told Enab Baladi that the Committee did what it was supposed to and issued its decision unanimously.
The appearance of Abu Amsha is a circumvention of the committee’s decision and a challenge to the revolution as a whole because the committee was formed with the agreement of the Azm command room, which is a key unit in the National Army.
The source added that any abuse that may occur against those who filed cases against Abu Amsha or witnesses lies on the shoulders of those who back Abu Amsha and try to bolster him after the revolution expelled him.
Conflict of interest
The move by the Revolutionaries for Liberation faction against the Azm Command Room alliance by appointing Abu Amsha in a new military post reflected deep rifts.
Azm alliance that includes Revolutionaries for Liberation has entered a state of ‘stagnation,’ as a result of mounting discords between its armed units over fiscal and organizational aspects, according to a study published by the Jusoor Center for Studies on 14 March.
The study confirmed that the components of Azm, specifically the Third Corps and the Revolutionaries for Liberation, were unable to resolve disputes about the mechanism of work of commercial crossings and its revenues which was reflected in the project of establishing an independent monitoring body emanating from the Azm Room to combat smuggling operations but the project was suspended on the grounds that the work of the ‘security room had almost frozen.
Several factions affiliated with the National Army are accused of covering up the contrabanding operations and smuggling some materials and people in exchange for cash through crossings with the SDF-controlled territories and the regime-controlled areas, but they deny such claims.
The Istanbul-based studies Center clarified that Azm has not been able, since its formation, to put a clear definition of the relationship with the institutions affiliated to the civil governing body, the Syrian Interim Government (SIG), which prompted official figures and some factions to oppose Azm’s activities.
The dispute escalated after the failure of some factions of the Revolutionaries for Liberation in obtaining seats inside the Azm room, even though it was originally represented by the Revolutionaries Commission.
The Azm Operations Room has witnessed the departure and return of several factions operating under its banner, following discussions about the mechanism of fair representation of the military formations affiliated with the room.
On the contrary to its actions, the Revolutionary for Liberation called to close ranks and unify the word in a merger statement with the Syrian Liberation Front on 23 January.
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