Anti-Syria militant commander, arrested last month by the Al-Nusra Front, has confessed to his captors that he has collaborated with Israel in return for medical and military support.
In a video uploaded to YouTube by the so-called Executive Sharia Council in the eastern Daraa Region, an Islamic court established by Al-Nusra in southern Syria, Sharif As-Safouri, the commander of the Free Syrian Army’s Al-Haramein Battalion, admitted to having entered Israel five times to meet with Israeli officers who later provided him with Soviet anti-tank weapons and light arms.
Safouri was abducted by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front in the Quneitra area, near the Israeli border, on July 22.
“The [militant] factions would receive support and send the injured in [to Israel] on condition that the Israeli fence area is secured. No person was allowed to come near the fence without prior coordination with Israel authorities,” Safouri said in the video.
Israel has never admitted to arming Syrian militants, who have been engaged in battle against the Syrian government since March 2011. But there are many reports that prove it has provided the militants with military equipment and hospital treatment.
Thousands of al-Qaeda-linked militants reached southern Syria over the past month, fleeing the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) which had captured large swaths of land in northern and northeastern Syria. While Al-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army have collaborated in the battlefield against the Syrian government, friction has intensified as the Nusra extremists began to implement their stringent version of Islam in the area, establishing local Sharia courts.
In the edited confession video, in which Safouri seems physically unharmed, he says that at first he met with an Israeli officer named Ashraf at the border and was given an Israeli cellular phone. He later met with another officer named Younis and with the two men’s commander, Abu Daoud. In total, Safouri said he entered Israel five times for meetings that took place in Tiberias.
Following the meetings, Israel began providing Safouri and his men with “basic medical support and clothes” as well as weapons, which included 30 Russian [rifles], 10 RPG launchers with 47 rockets, and 48,000 bullets (5.56 millimeter).
While militants’ websites denied that Safouri was a collaborator, claiming his entries into Israel were for medical purposes alone. Syrian media celebrated Safouri’s confession as proof of the Free Syrian Army’s treachery.
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