Assassinations and financial empire: Accusations against al-Mutasim Division in Aleppo countryside

Al-Mutasim Abbas (center), commander of al-Mutasim Division in the Syrian National Army in Aleppo countryside (Unified Force)

Al-Mutasim Abbas (center), commander of al-Mutasim Division in the Syrian National Army in Aleppo countryside (Unified Force)


Leaders in the Syrian National Army (SNA), Alaeddin Ayoub (Al-Farouk Abu Bakr) and Mustafa Sejari, accused the commander of al-Mutasim Division, Al-Mutasim Abbas, of corruption issues, violations, and assassination files in the Aleppo countryside.

The leaders’ statements came after a decision was made to dismiss Al-Mutasim Abbas for reasons related to treason, corruption, and abuse of power, his arrest, and his handover to the command of the Second Legion (his continued detention remains unconfirmed), and the confiscation of all money, properties, lands, and real estate belonging to him and four leaders, registered after 2011.

Coordination with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham

Al-Farouk Abu Bakr, in an audio recording obtained by Enab Baladi, said that Al-Mutasim Abbas turned the division into an investment company, began fabricating charges against his rivals, besides owning properties and real estate he looted under the banner of “revolution”.

He added that Al-Mutasim Abbas tried to facilitate the entry of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which holds military control in Idlib, into the city of Marea, and did not heed the advice that its entry would be disastrous. He also tried to receive one million US dollars from the leader of Tahrir al-Sham, Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, but Abu Bakr and Sejari prevented and thwarted that.

Abu Bakr mentioned that Al-Mutasim Abbas attempted to coordinate with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham to carry out assassinations of military leaders and civilians in Marea under the pretext that they were evil and corrupt, noting that he had witnesses and a list of planned eliminations.

He explained that attempts to rectify what Al-Mutasim Abbas and the division had done failed, indicating that Al-Mutasim had planned to eliminate Al-Farouk Abu Bakr and Mustafa Sejari.

“Financial empire”

For his part, Mustafa Sejari said that the recent action against al-Mutasim Division came for five reasons, the first being the discovery of the largest file of financial and moral corruption in the history of the Syrian revolution, in which Al-Mutasim Abbas and his brothers were implicated.

The second reason is that al-Mutasim Division transformed from a revolutionary military faction into a private commercial security company for the Abbas family in Marea, and built a huge financial empire through smuggling and selling large shipments of high-quality American weapons and Russian arms and ammunition from Syria to Libya, estimated to be worth millions of dollars.

The third reason, according to Sejari, is the concealment and theft of the division’s total financial revenues, estimated at millions of dollars.

Fourthly, the plundering and stealing of the fighters’ salaries coming from Turkey, the monthly allocations from internal and external crossings, and economic projects estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars monthly.

Fifthly, pursuing a policy of unlawful gain through smuggling points in Marea, Afrin, and Ras al-Ain, including managing networks of human smuggling, banned materials, and archaeological excavation projects estimated to be worth millions of dollars monthly.

Financial corruption or coup

Sejari clarified to Enab Baladi that the arrest of Al-Mutasim Abbas and the leaders involved in the mentioned cases occurred, and then they were handed over to the command of the Second Legion properly, without confirmation whether they were released later or not.

No clarifications were issued by al-Mutasim Division or the Ministry of Defense in the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) through its official accounts until the moment this news was published.

Enab Baladi contacted the official spokesperson of the Syrian National Army, Brigadier General Ayman Sharara, to get clarifications about the Ministry of Defense’s stance on what is happening in al-Mutasim Division, the reality of a coup, financial corruption, and coordination with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, but no response was received until the moment of publishing this news.

According to audio recordings circulating about Al-Mutasim Abbas in Telegram rooms (widely spread in the region), he said that what happened was a coup and betrayal. After a month of discussions about financial corruption, the leaders Al-Farouq Abu Bakr and Sejari handed over all related files.

He added that he was surprised after arriving at the division’s building accompanied by the head of relations in the Interim Government, Yasser al-Hajji, by elements storming the building and shooting at him, injuring his hand, and also injuring his brother.

Al-Mutasim Abbas leads al-Mutasim Division, which falls under the umbrella of the Second Legion in the Syrian National Army, with Marea serving as the main headquarters of the division.


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