Deir Ezzor – Sound and Picture

More than a month passed since the killing of Abdel Basset Hamida, the commander of so-called “Clans Army” which belongs to the regime forces and considered the most prominent force in fighting IS.

A source from “Clans Army”  confirmed for “Sound and Picture” that a landmine explosion resulted in the killing of Hamide in his car and injuring the military airport commander Issam Zahreddine who also leads “Nafes Assad Allah” fighters. This happened during an inspection tour of the regime forces in Tharda Mountain, southeast of the airport area on August 5th.

The emergence of “Clans Army”

After the massacre that has been committed by IS against Alshaitat clan last year, which claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people, A group of Alshaitat clan resorted to the Syrian regime forces, and announced in September, in mysterious circumstances, the formation of a new faction called “Clans Army”  to avenge the victims of Alshaitat clan and the people of Deir Ezzor in general.

“Clans Army”  consists of nearly 250 fighter, from different clans of Deir Ezzor. However, the largest part of them belongs to Alshaitat clan.

Leaders of the Clan Army announced that, the justification for joining regime forces is that they suffered from the injustice of IS while no one stood by them, not even FSA. That’s why they were left with no other choice but to seek the regime forces’ help”

On the other hand, military and clans forces in Deir Ezzor province, especially Alshaitat, rejected these justifications, putting in consideration that IS represents only itself and does not represent the clan, and it’s only a tool used by the Syrian regime to take advantage of Alshaitat clan suffering.

Ahmed, one of Alshaitat clan officers, confirmed that the leaders of “Clans Army” are the main reason behind massacres committed by IS against the Clan after these leaders insisted on fighting at the time when all other armed factions fighting IS in Deir Ezzor retreated as a result of their inability to remain steadfast against IS and in order to preserve the safety of civilians. He added that they did not fight out of a religious, tribal or even national motivation, but fought “in defense of the oil wells” in their areas. Having done so, they implicated civilians from Alshaitat sons and still they are the leaders of the Clans Army still.

Rambo battles against IS:

Black hatred in their hearts, facing death motivated by revenge, their experiences of fighting are high and their geographical knowledge of the area were the most prominent reasons that encouraged the Syrian regime to rely on “Clans Army”, which later became the “iron hand” that the regime used against IS in the countryside of Homs and Deir Ezzor province and in Hassaka recently.

The role of the “Clans Army” emerged more after IS attack on regime-controlled areas in Deir Ezzor province. Regime moved “Clans Army” from the city of Palmyra to its controlled areas in Deir Ezzor. Within few days “Clans Army” was able to repel IS’ attack over the military brigade 137 Airport west Deir Ezzor, which costed IS huge losses in lives and equipment.

One of IS fighters “who refused to reveal his identity” said to (Sound and Picture): The “Clans Army” is the main factor in IS failure in controlling  Deir Ezzor because of the ferocity of its fighters and their geographical knowledge of the region. Moreover, they all were FSA fighters before IS control over Deir Ezzor. In few months  they were able to kill many of IS fighters and secure Deir Ezzor military airport area along with regime-controlled areas in western neighborhood of the province”.

Among the battles fought recently by “Clans Army”, was the battle against IS in Hasaka province northeast of Syria. In which “Clans Army” managed – with the participation of regime forces and YPG – to regain control on most of the city’s neighborhoods, such as Ghwiran and Nashwa.

The ongoing Victories of “Clans Army” since its formation made it a “bogeyman” to IS and the ”legend” which its reputation exceeded the elite Republican Guard and the fourth band.

The godfather of the “Clans Army”

Abdel Basset Hamida from Keshkia town of Deir Ezzor is the leader and founder of “Clans Army”, born in 1988. Closed people said: “He is a simple man with no proper education.”

Hamida joined the revolutionaries against the regime at the beginning of the Syrian revolution in 2011, to become later a leader in “Ahfad Aisha” a battalion fighting under the flag of FSA. He is also one of the most prominent men of Alshaitat clan that fought IS.

After IS took control of Deir Ezzor, Abdel Basset went with a group of  Alshaitat clan to regime forces to form “Clans Army” which fought IS in Syria.

killing of Hamida and the splitting of “Clan Army”

After 11 months of his leadership of the army, The Godfather and the bogeyman fell dead, to end the legend of “the brother of Saada,” which strained IS princes. He was buried inside Jura district in Deir Ezzor , which is controlled by regime forces, away from his family and his town Keshkia.

Following his death, a split occurred within “Clans Army”, dividing its fighters into two parts; a part who joined “Nafes Al-Assad” rebel, led by Issam Zahereddine, while the other joined Mazen Kanj, the head of military security in Deir Ezzor.

Recently, problems between regime forces and “Clans Army” fighters began to float to the surface, to the extent of fighting, according to witnesses. The Clans army’s role has fallen sharply in the recent period. Opposition activists justified that to the absence of a central command after the death of Hamida and the divisions that have occurred.

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Sound and Picture organization: We are a group of Syrian human rights activists. We noticed the lack of bodies which document abuses against civilians inside Syria, therefore we decided to establish this project, it is specialized to document the violations which have committed by all sides in the ongoing conflict in Syria against civilians in a professional way. The organization is documenting all kinds of violations, and working on the accounting for the groups which committed these violations by the international community. The organization is completely independent, and does not follow any political or military bodies, whether inside or outside Syria.

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