Afghan mercenaries being sent to Syria part of ‘vicious Iranian plot’

A Syrian paramedic carries an injured child following airstrikes by Syrian and Russian forces in the opposition-held town of Hamouria, Eastern Ghouta, on Saturday. (AFP)
Updated 07 January 2018

Afghan mercenaries being sent to Syria part of ‘vicious Iranian plot’

JEDDAH: Iran has shown that it will resort to any tool to prop up the Assad regime, including the increasing recruitment of Afghan men and children to fight in Syria, Iranian-American political scientist Majid Rafizadeh told Arab News on Saturday.
He was reacting to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report that more than 2,000 Afghans deployed by Iran have been killed fighting in Syria for the Assad regime.
The Fatemiyoun Brigade of Afghan recruits has been fighting in Syria for five years, Zohair Mojahed, a cultural official in the volunteer force, told Iranian media.
Rafizadeh said two Iranian organizations are behind the recruitment: The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its elite Quds Force.
“The Iranian regime preys on vulnerable people such as immigrant or poor families,” he said, adding that Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently described Tehran’s recruitment of Afghan children as “a grave violation of international law.”
Mojahed told Iran’s reformist Shargh newspaper that the Fatemiyoun Brigade “has given more than 2,000 martyrs and 8,000 wounded for Islam.”
His description of mercenaries as “martyrs” drew a sharp rebuke from Syrian opposition spokesman Yahya Al-Aridi, who told Arab News that they are Iran’s “hired guns” who did not die for Islam.
“These Afghans are originally refugees in Iran. After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, they took refuge in Iran and they’re being sent to Syria by Tehran to kill Syrians,” Al-Aridi said, adding that Islam is not a religion of violence, as is being wrongly portrayed by Mojahed.
“They died to implement vicious and cunning Iranian plots. Those mercenaries are killed by Syrians who are defending themselves, their land and their children,” Al-Aridi said.
Iran takes them to Syria and puts them on the frontline in order to invade Syrian territory and kill Syrians, he added.
“Many of them were captured by Syrian freedom fighters, and they confessed to being paid by Iran $200 to $500 for their families in Afghanistan,” he said. “Iran doesn’t care whether they’re killed or stay alive.”

Sudan police tear gas protesters ahead of parliament march

Updated 20 January 2019

Sudan police tear gas protesters ahead of parliament march

  • Video clips circulating online show hundreds of security forces in Khartoum and more heading to nearby Omdurman
  • Longtime ruler Omar Al-Bashir insists there will be no change of leadership except through the ballot box

KHARTOUM: Sudanese police fired tear gas on Sunday at protesters ahead of a planned march on parliament in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum, witnesses said.

Demonstrators chanting “freedom, peace and justice” began gathering in some areas of Omdurman but were quickly confronted by riot police with tear gas, the witnesses said.

Deadly protests which erupted on December 19 after a government decision to raise the price of bread have turned into nationwide rallies against President Omar Al-Bashir’s three decade rule.

Officials say at least 26 people, including two security personnel, have died during a month of protests, while rights group Amnesty International last week put the death toll at more than 40.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella group of trade unions that is leading the ongoing protest movement, called for fresh demonstrations on Sunday and several days over the coming week.

“We are calling for a march to parliament in Omdurman on Sunday,” it said in a statement.

“The protesters will submit to parliament a memorandum calling on President Bashir to step down,” added the association, which represents the unions of doctors, teachers and engineers.

Over the past month, protesters have staged several demonstrations in Omdurman.

The SPA said there will also be rallies in Khartoum on Sunday, to be followed by night-time demonstrations on Tuesday in the capital and in Omdurman.

“And on Thursday there will be rallies across all towns and cities of Sudan,” the statement added.