1st pay day for Syrian rebels in Aleppo

2012-10-22 10:21

Aleppo - After months of fighting without pay, Syrian rebels in Aleppo are receiving their first salaries, paid with money commanders say is at least in part provided by foreign states.

In Aleppo's old city area, fighters gave their names to defected Syrian military officer Colonel Abdul Salam Humaidi, who searched through lists provided by rebel commanders before paying the men in crisp $100 bills.

The rebels made thumbprints in ink next to their names to indicate they had been paid.

As the fighters gathered, the crack of rifle fire could be heard from elsewhere in the old city, just one of many areas in Syria's one-time commercial capital that have become battlegrounds between forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and rebels fighting to overthrow his regime.

"The revolutionary military councils... are undertaking to distribute monthly salaries to the fighters, especially on the front lines," Humaidi told AFP.

All fighters are now paid $150 per month, but this may change in the future, with different salaries given to those who are married and those who are on the front lines, he said.

Humaidi said he "defected from the military after 30 years of service, because the regime is corrupt and sectarian." He is now a financial official for the rebel Revolutionary Military Council.

He declined to say where the payroll cash was from, but rebel commanders in Aleppo told AFP it came from foreign assistance and from other supporters, though they differed on the specific countries involved.

"The Military Council [is] distributing the salaries, with Qatari support... of $150 per person registered for two months," said Haji al-Bab, a commander in the Tawhid Brigade, adding that fighters who are not registered are not being paid.


Ahmed Arur, a commander in the Saqur al-Sham Brigade, said that "international assistance [and] Syrian opposition traders are paying the salaries for the Free Army."

And Sheikh Mahmud Mujadami, a commander from the Halab al-Shahbaa Brigade, said sources of the money include "Turkey, from the Gulf states, from... Islamic states," and the Association of Muslim Scholars.

For the fighters battling the Assad regime's heavy weapons with light arms for which they sometimes even lack ammunition, the money has been a long time coming.

"We obtained salaries in the amount of $150, and we will use it for pocket money and for the family, for the house," said Mohammed al-Nasser, who has fought for six months without being paid.

He is married and has a son, but his family was able to get by with aid they received in Turkey. Now, they are back in Syria.

Ahmed al-Shawaf said he was a fighter for five months without a salary, and that while this did not personally cause his family hardship, there are "many difficulties" for a person who is "the only one working, and he stops his work because of the revolution."

He said that individual battalion commanders can decide to give fighters assistance.

Hussein Ristum defected from the police about three months ago, losing his salary.

"I was depending on the salary for my family, [but] thanks be to God, here in the Tawhid Brigade we do not need anything, food, we receive everything," he said.

Rebel forces helped his family during the time he served without pay. He said there were "difficulties, but thanks be to God, the Free Army and the guys provided housing."

  • tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-10-22 10:31

    How the heck is this condoned by the international community. We have a monarchy financing a 'pro democracy' revolution. Who are those fighters fighting for, Syria or Qatar?

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-22 10:35

    Mercenaries, why would they forego paid work and look for a peaceful solution. Fighting means salaries. It must be the first time in history that "revolutionaries" were paid salaries to engage in a revolution. Think of the millions unemployed young men across the Muslim world who are going to Syria to look for employment. What a bloody joke of a revolution!

      customdesign - 2012-10-22 11:14

      150USD a month is very little- and it is the first time they're getting paid. They are hardly mercenaries- another stupid comment from you Fido.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-10-22 11:34

      $150/ month is little for you but not for poor unemployed young men! I seriously want to let fly an abuse, but I won't!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-10-22 17:45

      . Well ,they must bethe lousiest paid mercenaries ever, after 18 months.....$150. At least it entertained the violent loony left, for the afternoon !!!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-23 06:12

      Is Assad not paying the Syrian military? Did the Apartheid Nationalist Party not pay the South African Defense Force and South African Police?

  • nienke.blaauwjenkinson - 2012-10-22 11:22

    Is that not a war crime, to support a rebel group within a sovereign country?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-23 06:15

      Syria is a sovereign state hijacked by an illegitimate regime.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-10-22 12:13

    . GREAT NEWS!!!! But now, The loonies of the violent left, are getting more confused by the day !! First, they learn that all these tons of military hardware, the West is supposed to be supplying them with, is only in the imagination of their disturbed minds!! Than they learn that the Syrian freedom fighters , many who have been fighting for over 18 months, don't have ANY income. That assad terrorists soldiers get paid every months, does not seem to occur to them. That those Russian dogs, who call themselves 'advisers' and 'experts' get paid fat salaries from Moscow, does not seem to get through their straw!!! These are incredible brave freedom fighters, who for the first 11 months went onto the streets unarmed, and are now fighting a monstrous army of terrorists. What makes this debate sick, to the point , one wants to puke, is tha most of these supporters of this assad monster, are from SA, who not long ago had the majority demanding from the minority , to have free and fair elections, and their dignity reinstated. Luckily, the world does not have more than 5 % of utter scum !!!

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-10-22 14:32

      I send you link after link proving you wrong. Yet you continue to spew out garbage, congratulations, while you think you are supporting Syrian democracy. In fact you are supporting a radical jihadist movement that is hellbent on bringing shia law into effect. These fundamentalists are being imported from abroad and think they are fighting a holy war against the zionists. Be careful about this one anthony.. Just because you hate the one side doesn't mean you have to love the other side..

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-10-22 15:10

      Tom, 8756589640946439654956 There were 'thousands' of simular links about Egypt and 'tens of thousands' of simular links about Libya, And how THAT turned out to be 'garbage" spewed out by the ones who prefer a dictatorship over a system of accountability. The ones who abuse their own freedom to deny same to others are the lousiest human beings in this world . Those ones bloated with confused HATRED for the West, who USE a people who are struggling for freedom, NO DIFFERENT, than the 'brave ones' did here in SA!!!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-10-22 17:28

      . ""Luckily, the world does not have more than 5 % of utter scum !!! "" Sorry, this sentence did not belong to this comment !!

  • msimelelo.m - 2012-10-22 12:14

    The Zionist Order is too strong too massive and way ahead of our time. It is impossible to stop. After they hang Assad they will move on to Iran (they've already taken out 19 tv n radio channels out in that country). Preparing for a propaganda onslaught so the dumbed down public will support their cause. He who controls the oil controls the world.\r\nBut mark my words Iran is NO Iraq nor a Syria. They have massive fire power and Russian support.\r\n\r\n\You don't have to be a Jew to be a Zionist\ - Vice Pres. Joe Biden (2011)

      cameronrh1 - 2012-10-22 13:44

      What has Israel got to do with Syria? Its muslims killing muslims.

  • derek.bredenkamp.3 - 2012-10-22 12:15

    These always were mercenaries and not freedom fighters, this just proves it. All the blood spilled is on the hands of the paymasters.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-10-22 15:28

      . Well , they must be the lousiest paid mercenaries ever, after 18 months.....$150. If you prefer DICTATORS / TYRANTS / MASS MURDERERS, over the population, so it be, but please don't talk sh.t !!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-23 06:16

      Derek too is delusional, supporting the killing of his own people by an unelected dictator in control of the Syrian state and its military. Derek, who do you think pays the Syrian army and secret police?

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