“Organized corruption”: money governs the spheres of influence of the National Army in northwestern Syria

Paris – Hours after the release of Muhammad Hassan Al-Mustafa, who is accused of violating civilians during his military service in the Syrian regime, the military police of the Syrian National Defense Force (opposition) , Wednesday, re-arrested. , in response to the demands of the protesting civilians in the area.

Al-Mustafa was detained by the Military Police in the city of Al-Bab, who initially refused his release, and noted statement Yesterday, Wednesday, it issued a statement that the accused “is still in custody, and he will be properly brought before the court to decide his case, after the confessions he made.”

Al-Mustafa, 30, arrived in the northern army area of ​​the northern Aleppo countryside six months ago, where two of his brothers live in the city of Al-Bab, and despite his confession that he committed murder and rape has. while fighting in the ranks of the Fourth Division, led by Maher Al-Assad, and carrying out raids in several Syrian cities, he was released after paying bribes to a military police officer.

Al-Mustafa, who hails from the Al-Salihin neighborhood in the city of Aleppo, served in the regime for more than eight years until his release in March 2021, and at the end of his compulsory service he received two million. Syrian pound (about $ 500, according to the exchange rate in the current market, which is 3,980 pounds against the dollar), according to his confessions recorded in the Military Police investigation report, dated May 12, a copy of which was obtained by Syria Direct.

Al-Mustafa has been hiding in a plastic factory in the city of Al-Bab, where he works with his brother, for the past few months, until the military police arrested him on May 10.

Al-Mustafa’s case sparked public outcry in the areas backed by the Turkish-backed National Army, as the city of Al-Bab witnessed popular protests in front of the Military Police headquarters for the second day in a row, and protesters expressed dissatisfaction with the incident of his release, andconsider it “Betrayal for the blood of the martyrs,” and that all who defend “the shabiha are a shabiha like them.”

This incident has revealed similar corruption cases, indicating the involvement of faction leaders and the military police in the release of detainees in exchange for bribes, or to cover them up as a result of a relationship.

Reprocessions of the incident

There were conflicting accounts about the names of those involved in receiving money in exchange for the release of Al-Mustafa, as local activists called the commander of the military police in the city of Al-Bab, Colonel Abdul Latif Al-Ahmad, known as, accused. “Abu Khaled”, from the receipt of a sum of $ 1,500, in collaboration with the leader of the Sultan Murad Division (Al-Amashat), attached to the National Defense Force, Hamido Al-Juhaishi, while others said that Al -Juhaishi was the one who took the bribe.

However, the official version of the military police commander in al-Bab indicates that he “rejected the mediation of Commander Hamido al-Juhaishi to release al-Shabih,” said Malik Abu Ubaida, a civilian journalist in al-Bab. Bab resides, told Syria. Direct. “Turkish intelligence has called for help, which has ordered the military police in al-Bab to release al-Mustafa.”

In turn, Brigadier General Ahmed al-Kurdi, commander of the military police in the areas under the influence of the National Army in northern Syria, took up the story of Colonel al-Ahmad during his talks with high-ranking officials, representatives of the revolutionary activities in the city of al-Bab and leaders of the National Army, according to a source who attended the meeting, told Syria Direct.

The source added: “Brigadier General Ahmed Al-Kurdi said during the meeting that Commander Hamido Al-Juhaishi had visited the Military Police Branch in Al-Bab more than once” to release Al-Mustafa, and after his failure, “he brought a paper from the Turkish intelligence stating that the accused had been handed over to him, to transfer him to the military court, under the pretext The accused was tortured in Al-Bab branch.

It is not enough for the residents of the area to arrest the accused after his release in response to the protesters, nor is it enough to denounce those involved in receiving bribes, as “these officials may return to release the same persons or other persons. , ”According to Malik Abu Obeida, emphasizing that“ we are not demanding extradition The shabiha is but also the commander of the military police in al-Bab and al-Juhaishi and all those involved in the incident. ”

In response to the accusations against him, He said The leader, Hamido Al-Juhaishi, who is accused of releasing Al-Mustafa, said the latter was “mentally unstable”, and in an audio recording posted on social media, he made the confessions made by the accused. , deny.

Al-Juhaishi denied that he had released Al-Mustafa and remarked that he would be handed over to the military judiciary, but he was returned to the military police “to ward off any factional fighting in the area”.

In turn, Colonel Abdul Latif Al-Ahmad, the commander of the Military Police in Al-Bab, announced his resignation, after accusations were brought against him that he had released Al-Mustafa, which in an audio recording, circulated by activists was, indicated yesterday, Wednesday, by the “WhatsApp” application, that he could not follow up. She works “under any circumstances, my head hurt and my health deteriorated.”

and in turn, announced The Ministry of Defense in the Syrian Interim Government has announced the formation of a temporary military investigation committee to investigate the decision to release the accused, Muhammad Hassan Al-Mustafa.

The Ministry has given the commission in charge a period of 72 hours, which can only be extended once, and to submit the results of the investigation to the Ministry to properly implement the legal requirement.

In the latest aftermath of Al-Mustafa’s case, the National Army’s Tharon Liberation Authority today, Thursday, issued an administrative order referring Muhammad Yahya Khudair, known as “Hamido Al-Juhaishi”, to the Internal Military Committee, against the background of his name. is mentioned in the Al-Mustafa release case.

It appears that the spate of popular anger against the army and security institutions in the areas of influence of the National Defense Force will push the latter to contain the protesters and bring to justice the corruption cases that emerged after the incident of Al-Mustafa’s release. reconsider.

On May 18, Military Police arrested Ahmed Hassan Al-Hamidi (26), who hails from the small village of Al-Sukariah in the al-Bab countryside, and is a former soldier in the ranks of the regime forces, and he entered the territories under the control of the National Army eight months ago.

On May 14, a military police patrol arrested Al-Hamidi for hours, and the latter admitted that he He served in the regime for one year before fleeing military service as he was deported from Lebanon to Syria upon his return, according to a report issued by the Military Police Investigation Department in Al-Bab, a copy of it was obtained by Syria Direct, and he was released on recommendation.From the Liberation Authority, which is affiliated with the National Army, according to the report. However, the military police re-arrested Al-Hamidi in collaboration with Al-Mustafa’s case.

Double standards!

In an incident that seems more exciting, the military police in the city arrested Afrin activist Mahmoud al-Dimashqi, who was displaced from the south of Damascus, against the background of his report on the cover-up of a leader in Jaysh al- Islam, Husam al-Qaadan, affiliated with the Third Corps in the National Army, against his two brothers, Qassem and Zain, who are accused of committing crimes. Violations against civilians in Daraa, during her service with the regime.

At the beginning of this month, a statement Al-Dimashqi revealed the leader’s involvement with Jaysh al-Islam, based on “information and testimonies obtained from the victims.” One of the victims told Jaysh al-Islam “two months ago about the story, but he did not care,” according to a source close to al-Dimashqi with knowledge of the details of the incident.

Qassem al-Aqdan (35), one of my brothers, a leader in Jaysh al-Islam, served as Deputy Commander of the Military Security Division, in the city of al-Hara, north of Daraa, until the opposition took control in 2014.

After publishing the details of the case, Al-Dimashqi informed the head of the security department of the “Azm Chamber” and Brigadier General Ahmed Al-Kurdi, Commander of the Military Police, about the information and documents in his possession. . He asked Al-Dimashqi to provide the information to the Investigation Department The army is in the Military Police to follow up the case, according to the source, who asked for security reasons not to be named.

Instead of arresting the accused and holding the leader of the Army of Islam accountable, the military police in Afrin arrested him on May 10 and accused him of three charges: “slander the army of Islam, slander of the leader al-Qa’an, and slandered the Islamic religion, “according to the source.

After a seven-day detention, Mahmoud al-Dimashqi was released from prison on May 16 as “none of these charges against him have been proven.” The military police have arrested the accused brothers, Qassem and Zain al-Qaadan, and their fate is still unknown.

But since his release, “Mahmoud has received threats of fake accounts on Facebook, threatening to kidnap and rape his daughter and wife, and to burn his son and house,” the source said.

In contrast to the case of the Al-Qaadan family, the military police on the outskirts of the city of Azaz, in the northern countryside of Aleppo, arrested the activist Omar Nazhat six months ago against the background of facilitating the access of a former detainee with the regime in the areas controlled by the National Army.

Although the process of entering the former detainee was carried out in collaboration with a military faction in the National Army, which gave Nezha a “military mission” paper to carry out the mission, he was arrested along with his friend hours after the latter entered, he told Syria Direct.

Omar Nazha was a witness to a number of offenses in the military police prisons during his detention, including: Paying bribes to prison guards in exchange for cigarettes, fast food or other necessities, he said.

Two days after his arrest, Nezha and his friend were taken to court The civilians were in the city of Azaz to consider their case, before being released in exchange for a $ 200 fine, on charges of “moral gain from human trafficking”.

But the total of what Nozha paid exceeded $ 1,000, between a fine and bribery, “or Helwan, as some elements call it,” and the seizure of his car and his personal deposit with the Military Police.

Nazhat added: “In the military police you can get out of jail even if you are a criminal, provided you pay the bribe.” On the other hand, “there are people in prison who have been arrested on false charges in order to force them to pay money,” considering that “corruption is an organization and not an individual case.” Not to mention the “bad treatment”.

“Without wasta I would have been beaten like the rest of the detainees, and I might spend two months in jail,” Nazhat said, noting that “anyone who has no wasta or money to pay as bribes, in the jail will remain. “

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