Syrian Athlete Finds New Use for Skills

Watch: Syria's shot-put champion is now a member of the rebel Free Syrian Army and throws heavy bombs.

Elad Benari,

Free Syrian Army fighters in Damascus
Free Syrian Army fighters in Damascus

Syria's shot-put champion has found a new use for his skills.

The athlete, Abu Al-Kazem, is now a commander of a brigade of the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Deir Al-Zour. He uses his athletic talent to throw large and heavy bombs, which others find difficult to throw.

A report about Al-Kazem aired March 23 on the Lebanese Al-Jadid TV channel. It was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“Abu Al-Kazem used to have a different title, which he earned by the strength of his arms, in his days as a student in his hometown of Al-Mayadin, in Deir Al-Zour,” a reporter says of Al-Kazem.

“He participated in the local shot-put competition, and went on to become the Syrian shot-put champion. Today, however, he has turned into a dynamite-thrower. With the strength of his hands, he makes and throws dynamite sticks. He has become well-known among the brigades in the Jbeile neighborhood. They make use of his expertise in throwing large and heavy bombs, which others find difficult to throw far enough to reach their target.”

The reporter notes that Al-Kazem “is considered one of the leaders of the city, which confronts the Syrian regime's army.”

It should be noted that Al-Kazem is a member of the FSA, which is considered by the West to be the “moderate” rebel group fighting to oust Assad, as opposed to jihadist groups such as Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).

MEMRI has released several videos related to the Syrian civil war, including one which showed the FSA enlisting children into its ranks who speak about “jihad for the sake of Allah.”

Another video showed a two-way radio conversation between ISIS and FSA rebels as they exchange insults. The ISIS fighter even goes as far as to say that fighting the FSA takes precedence over fighting Jews and Christians.