Azhar Vadi | Cii News | 31 October 2012
While reports abound about the influx of so-called ‘terrorists’ or foreign fighters operating in Syria against the government forces of Bashar Al Assad, there were none to be seen on the border region with Turkey during a strategic fight on Sunday.
The battle for the mountain town of Darkoush, in the north of Syria beyond the city of Aleppo, was attended by 150 fighters from the Shaheed Ali Brigade under the command of Yunus Al Ali, a local farmer. All the fighters were businessmen, artisans or civil servants from the town. Al Ali, a lean, yet powerfully built man wearing a formal pants and shirt covered by an ammunition vest with an AK47 slung around his shoulder, beamed as he gave an account of what happened. “Darkoush, Azmareen and the other villages are now free from Assad. Our next plan is to free Jishr Al Shuguhr.”
In this battle, several Syrian army tanks and military trucks were to use a road from the nearby villages passing through Darkoush to relocate to Jishr Al Shughur, another major city in the region. In an ambush, the rag tag Free Syria fighters launched an attack pushing the army out of Darkoush, this time they hope for good.
“A small number of Assad’s soldiers escaped and have run away but we will find them,” Al Ali added. The strategic value of the victory was noted on Monday when Syrian war planes could be seen targeting the region.
Turkish locals along the border who witnessed the firing said they were hitting military installations like radar sites along the mountain range inside Syria to prevent it from falling into the hands of the revolutionary fighters.
It was the second major battle for control of the city. On 9 October 2012, the local fighters captured 200 soldiers according to Commander Ali. In the latest clash at least 150 were caught and were being held at several locations. At least eight were in Ali’s custody and some agreed to speak to Cii.
1) Hazim Abu Esa – His suffered a severe injury to his face when he was surrounded by Free Syria fighters. In an attempt to escape he used a women and child from a nearby house as human shields and flung a grenade at the fighters that exploded prematurely. The explosion ripped a chunk of his face off.
“I have been in the army for six and a half years. We were traveling from Salqin (a town in the region) to Jishr Al Shughur when I heard an explosion on the road. We were attacked by the Free Syria fighters. I used a women and child to protect myself and was injured when a bomb I threw exploded in my face. The Free Syria fighters have teated us very well and I call on all Syrian soldiers to stop fighting and to go home.”
2) Ahmed Rasmi Al Khooli – “I was suffering from an old injury from two months ago on my foot. It has now been treated by the Free Syria soldiers and they have bandaged it. When we were fighting there was no way to escape. In front of us was the Free Syria fighters and behind us were our own army officers. If we ran away from fighting they would kill us.
Many of the Syrian soldiers want to run away but they can’t. We were given orders to enter homes and kill everyone. We were told they are not citizens. The morale of the soldiers in the army is very low and they want to leave the army. The officers told us about the Turkish government saying they are helping the fighters and are killing Syrians.”
3) Saddam Ahmed Ali – “I have been in the army for one and a half years. The Free Syria fighters have looked after me and fed me. If we did not follow the orders while we were fighting we were called traitors and jailed or killed. Many of my friends have been killed. We also received order to fire into Turkish lands.
4) Muhammad Hamdan Jasim – “I am 19 years old. I have been in the army since 2011. I tried to flee but couldn’t. I was told that the Free Syria fighters would kill me. But I have seen the opposite. While we were fighting there were Iranian and Hezbollah soldiers behind us to make sure we didn’t run away.
All those interviewed expressed deep regret at the loss of life experienced on all sides.
Tags: bashar al assad battle, darkoush, free syria army, syriaa, turkey