A Saudi militant has unveiled the amount of brutal crimes committed by terrorists against Syrian people based on their interpretation of religion, a report says.
On his eighth trip to join the fighting against government forces in Syria, in August, Abu Khattab saw something that troubled him: two dead children, their blood-soaked bodies sprawled on the street of a rural village near the Mediterranean coast. He knew right away that his fellow militants had killed them, New York Times reported on Tuesday.
Abu Khattab, a 43-year-old Saudi hospital administrator, went to demand answers from his local commander, a notoriously brutal man named Abu Ayman al-Iraqi. The commander brushed him off, saying his men had killed the children “because they were not Muslims,” Abu Khattab recalled recently during an interview in Syria.
It was only then that Abu Khattab began to believe that the war in Syria was not in accord with God’s will. But by the time he returned to Riyadh, where he now volunteers in a program to discourage others from going, his government had overcome its own scruples to become the main backer of the Syrian terrorists, including many extremists who often fight alongside militants loyal to Al-Qaeda.
The disillusionment of Abu Khattab — who asked that his full name be withheld because he still fears retribution from extremists — helps illustrate the great challenge now facing Saudi Arabia’s rulers: how to fight an increasingly bloody and chaotic proxy war in Syria using zealot militia fighters over whom they have almost no control.
The Saudis fear the rise of al-Qaeda’s affiliates in Syria, and they have not forgotten what happened when Saudi militants who had fought in Afghanistan returned home to wage a domestic insurgency a decade ago. They officially prohibit their citizens from going to Syria for war, but the ban is not enforced; at least a thousand have gone, according to Interior Ministry officials, including some from prominent families.
But the Saudis are also bent on ousting the Syrian government, which they see as an enemy. Their only real means of fighting them is through military and financial support to the Syrian terrorists. And the most effective of those terrorists are extremists whose creed is often scarcely separable from Al-Qaeda.