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Video: Saudi Provides Inside Look at Syrian Rebel War

A Saudi who fought in Syria reveals that the jihadist factions are fighting one another, not Assad.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/7/2014, 6:12 AM

A testimony from Syria has shed light on the inter-rebel civil war that has been raging in the country.

In a recent TV interview, former Saudi Internet celebrity Suleiman Al-Subaie, known as “Sambateek,” recounted how he became involved in Jihad in Syria after his brother was killed there.

Al-Subaie, who later turned himself in to the Saudi authorities, said in the interview that he had become disillusioned when he saw that the Jihadi factions were fighting one another, instead of fighting the regime. The interview aired on March 5 and was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“At first, we all concentrated on how to fend off the regime, and to bring an end to the injustice and massacres from which the Syrian people suffer. But then all the discussions took a different direction. Recently, all the factions have begun to accuse one another of heresy. Each faction would accuse the other of heresy in order to fight it,” he said.

“After a while, there was another development. The ISIS organization and Jabhat Al-Nusra began fighting each other. There was also fighting between them and the other factions. The most disturbing thing was that Saudis were fighting Saudis, although, if you asked them, they would all tell you that they came to fight the regime.”

Al-Subaie further said that “recently, there has been nothing that could be called Jihad. All the fighting takes place between the factions. The regime used to be the only target, but now there is no fighting against it. All the factions are fighting one another.”

“I advise the young people there to leave if they can,” he added.

The comments provide a closer look at the infighting between Syrian rebels, in what has essentially turned into a second civil war.

The civil war in Syria has attracted many jihadist rebel groups which have been fighting the more moderate rebel groups. In recent months, the jihadists have also turned on one another.

Three powerful rebel alliances – among them Islamist groups - have teamed up to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which they have warned is even worse than Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.

ISIS has been accused of several human rights abuses, including torturing and murdering prisoners, among them children and teenagers, and forcing Druze men to convert to Islam or die. Most recently, members of the group amputated the hand of a thief and live-tweeted the amputation.

The leader of another jihadist group, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front, last week gave ISIS an ultimatum to accept arbitration by clerics or be expelled.

The threat came after ISIS rebels killed an Al-Qaeda emissary in Aleppo.