Free Syrian Army gets tribal support

Updated 21 June 2012

Free Syrian Army gets tribal support

The importance of controlling land-based crossing points to Syria’s neighbors is increasing as fighting intensifies between the war-torn country’s government forces and the Free Syrian Army, according to opposition commanders and leaders.
They say it is particularly important for the Free Army to control supply flow as it now controls a quarter of the country including rural Aleppo, Homs, Idlib, Deraa and parts of rural Damascus.
A Free Syrian Army military source said most supplies come through the roads to Turkey and Iraq and some through the road to Jordan. The Free Army counts on tribal support in these areas.
Tribes play a major role in securing border roads for the delivery of weapons and ammunition to the Free Army as they have a strong influence in areas on the Turkish and Iraqi borders, said member of the opposition Syrian National Council Muhammad Mazeed Al-Tarkawi.
About 80 percent of weapons are obtained from the regime’s forces after battles, he added.
The road to Lebanon was once one of the main routes for supplies before government forces in cooperation with Lebanon seized control of the border.
The Free Army military source said: “Wadi Khaled Road that leads to Tripoli (in Lebanon) used to be an important channel for necessary supplies, and allowed Syrian people fleeing the violence to enter the country.
“More than 15,000 Syrian refugees fled Lebanese-Syrian border areas through that road after the regime army’s bombardment over their villages increased.”
The Free Army’s control over several areas and tribal support makes it possible to obtain the supplies needed for its battle against the Syrian regime.
In the north, the Free Army now controls villages near the border with Turkey, including Azaz and Atrab.
Through the borders with Turkey the Free Army receives military support. As generous support comes from these areas, said the source, Lebanese and Syrian authorities are cooperating to stop any smuggling through their borders.
The role of tribes is also important at the Lebanese-Syrian border, where Alfawwara, Alturki and Bani Khaled clans supply the Free Army with weapons, money and men.
The source said the Jordanian government’s complete control of its borders had made it hard to smuggle weapons despite the fact the Free Army controlled the Deraa rural area, one of the closest Syrian areas to Jordan.
However, tribes on the borders are delivering support in the form of money and weapons, according to Al-Tarkawi.
Tribes on the Syrian-Iraqi border give only moral support, he said.


Saudi Arabia's envoy to UK: We won’t allow Iran to meddle in region 

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia's envoy to UK: We won’t allow Iran to meddle in region 

  • “You cannot give in to a country like Iran because they will see it as a sign of weakness,” Prince Khalid said
  • The ambassador encouraged people to visit his country before forming an opinion of it

LONDON: Riyadh does not seek conflict with Tehran but will not let “Iran’s meddling in the region” go unchecked, said the Saudi ambassador to Britain. 
“We do not seek conflict. We do not seek escalation. We have always been supporters of taking a firm stand against Iran. Our issue is not with the people of Iran, it is with the regime running the country,” Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan told the Daily Telegraph. 
“But we do not believe in appeasement. At no point in history has appeasement proved to be a successful strategy. You cannot give in to a country like Iran because they will see it as a sign of weakness.”
France, Germany and the UK, three of the signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), triggered a “dispute resolution mechanism” recently in response to Iran ramping up its nuclear program in violation of the deal.
Prince Khalid criticized the JCPOA because it does not address “all the other things that Iran” is doing in the region.
“Iran’s meddling in the region is as challenging as the nuclear program. This is why we were concerned with the nuclear deal,” he said.
The ambassador also touched on recent allegations that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in hacking the phone of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
“It is very easy for people to throw these unsubstantiated allegations against Saudi Arabia because they know that it is very difficult for Riyadh to defend itself when it does not have proper access to the details,” Prince Khalid said.
“We need to see the evidence before we make any response, because the evidence made public so far is circumstantial at best.”
Saudis do not always represent themselves well because they are “a reticent people and our culture does not push us to talking about ourselves,” he said. “We need to do a better job on showing the world who we really are.” 
The ambassador, who was appointed last year, encouraged people to visit his country before forming an opinion of it. 
“There are a lot of misconceptions about Saudi Arabia. We want people to come and see Saudi Arabia for themselves, and not rely on what they have read somewhere or heard somewhere to form their opinion of the country,” he said.
“There is plenty to see, and you will find a warm, generous and hospitable people there waiting to greet you.”