Remembering Abu Furat

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Today, it is with great sadness that we learned about the death of Yusef al-Jader, whose nom-de-guerre was Abu Furat. Liwaa al-Tawhid announced that he was martyred today after leading a successful operation to liberate the Infantry School In Aleppo. Abu Furat was from Jarablus, a city on the border with Turkey in the suburbs of Aleppo.  He was a great fighter, but also a man of great principle.

In this video, Abu Furat is speaking right after the liberation of the Infantry School. In a dialogue with the cameraman, he says the following:

Cameraman: Tell us what you are feeling now Abu Furat.

Abu Furat: Honestly, I am bothered.

Cameraman: Why?

Abu Furat: I am bothered because these tanks [that we destroyed] are our tanks. The ammo is our ammo. Those fighters are our brothers. I swear to God, every time I see a person that is killed, from our side or from their side, I get sad. Because if that bastard [Bashar] had resigned, Syria would have been the best country in the world. But you clung to your throne you bastard, why? You started killing people when we were telling you we were peaceful, and you were saying it was all armed gangs. And us officers were sitting on our beds watching, when you were calling people terrorists. Honestly, we are not terrorists. You are the one who wants us to become terrorists.

Perhaps it is for this reason that he appears ecstatic in this video when he announces that over 70 soldiers from the Infantry School in Aleppo defected a few days before he was killed. Seeing soldiers have to be killed to defend Bashar’s throne would bother him, and defections meant many lives would be spared, which perhaps gave him some solace.

In this video from two days ago, Abu Furat sends a message to Bashar about sectarianism:

“We want to send a message to the regime, Bashar al-Assad. This man is our brother. This man is a Alawite. I lived in Lattakia for 22 years. Why did you plunge your own sect in a battle for you and try to make them hate Sunnis? Why? Don’t you think about how we are going to live together? Well, despite you, we are going to live together. I know Alawites are a generous and nice people. Many of them are poor too. And you use these people to achieve your own malicious goals. And these are the children of villages. Bread probably takes a year to finally make its way to their villages. They are poor, they don’t have food, they don’t have bread, if one of them gets sick, they will die because they can’t afford medicine.

But I want to ask from you my Alawite brothers–and you know me, I have sat among you and  drank matté with you before–be careful: We are not your enemies, we are your brothers, we are participants in the nation, and we lived together. And Saleh al-Ali [anti-colonial Syrian Alawi leader during French colonialism] refused to work under the French flag, and refused to separate into a Alawi state, just like his sons and grandsons will also refuse such a thing. The plans have been exposed, and our Alawite brothers will come back to us, for we are the same.”

Knowing that extraordinary characters like Abu Furat are fighting on the frontlines and leading battles in Syria gives great hope for the future of Syria, in terms of the victory against Assad, and also in terms of the prospects for a post-Assad Syria.

Rest in power ya shahid Abu Furat.

 

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