News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
(ANF/SEYİT EVRAN/EFRİN) Muhammed Beshir, an Algerian jihadist who was captured by Efrin public security members (Asayiş) as he attempted to travel to Bab in the area of Idlib, has revealed startling information about the role of Turkey is continuing to play in aiding foreign jihadists entry into Syria.
Muhammed Beshir was born in 1982 in the Algerian city of Vaharan. He migrated to Europe in 2005. After four years in Germany, France, and Spain he was deported back to Algeria. In 2013 in the wake of the uprisings in Syria Beshir met a Syrian in Vaharan who was working as a confectioner.
A short time after meeting this Syrian, Beshir explains that he was convinced to take part in the revolution in Syria with the promise of heaven, saying “after returning from Europe I went to my home town to live. After the events began in Syria people began to migrate there. One of them was a Syrian named Ebu Behcet who was working in confections. At first he got close to a lot of people. He would give me sweets without taking any money. After I went a number of times he began to speak about how ‘there is a jihad and it is necessary to go.’ Within two months he had convinced many to take part in the jihad. I also decided to go to Syria for the jihad. Within two days the bought my ticket and sent me off.”
Beshir narrates how after Ebu Behcet bought his ticket he flew from Hawari Bomedyan airport in the Algerian capital to Atatürk Airport in Istanbul. When he arrived in Istanbul he called a telephone number that had been given to him earlier, saying “after the plane landed I knew that I was in Istanbul. But I had no idea who the telephone number they gave me belonged to. After I got out of the airport I called the number that had been given to me. A man speaking with a rich voice in broken Arabic answered the phone and began to explain what I needed to do next. He explained that ‘there is a place called Antakya, and you will come here and after you arrive you will call me again.’ Following his directions I went from the airport to the bus station. There I bought a ticket to Antakya. I left the day. I arrived in Antakya the next morning and called the same number. When he asked me where I was I said that I was still in the bus station. He wanted me to buy a ticket for Reyhanlı without leaving the station. I bought a ticket in the station and after a short journey I arrived in Reyhanlı. When I got there I called the man again. He wanted me to describe myself and after I did he hung up. Almost immediately someone approached and asked ‘are you Muhammed Beshir’? When I said ‘yes’ he said ‘ok, lets go.’ We stopped in front of currency exchange counter in the Reyhanlı market district. He said ‘my name is Abdulmecit Cevher.’ He showed me a place to sit and after offering me tea he said ‘ok, lets go home.’ We left and went to his house. There was no one at home. He was obvious that it was being used for those going to the war in Syria. There was everything in the house. He said ‘if you are tired have something to eat and get some rest. I will be back in the evening’ and then he left.
Crossing To Syria
Beshir explains how Adbulmecit Cevher, who works as as both a money changer and local recruiter for the gangs, came back later that night but said he could not cross then because there was fighting on the border. Because the fighting intensified he waited five more days in Cevher’s house. Then, Beshir says, “on the evening of the fifth day Abdulmecit came to his house with someone else and asked if I were ready to go. I said I was ready and he said I could pass with no problem because he spoke with the soldiers at the border. He said that because I would cross under the supervision of the commanders there would be no problem. Within a short time we left the house and got in a car. Within a few minutes we were next to a wire fence. We went straight to the place where there were soldiers. Abdulmecit and the man with him went and spoke with the soldiers and were joking around. Then Abdulmecit came over to me and said that the man with him would bring me from this point. He waited with soldiers and we walked on a little further, lifted up some of the fire fencing and went under. As we passed under the wires those soldiers were talking and laughing. It was clear that these were not ordinary soldiers from they spoke and joked around. They were high-ranking.”
After Crossing The Border
After they crossed the border Beshir says they got into a car that had been waiting for them, where he learned that he was in the area of Hibeyt. Beshir explains that as soon as he got out of the car they wanted him to make a choice, saying “those bringing me wanted me join al-Nusra but because I smoke cigarettes they wouldn’t accept me so they wanted me to choose the group I wanted to join. Because I didn’t know any of the groups I said whatever group you want to put me with is fine. They put me in with a group called the Liva Cephet El Hak. Of course after I joined this group I released that this group was a subsidiary of El-Nusra. Those who smoked cigarettes or who had used drugs or alcohol before were joining this group. Of course after spending some time with them I witnessed how they were preparing and taking people for the al-Nusra Front.”
Beshar – who knows French, German, Spanish and Arabic – tells of how he spent a couple of months with this group and witnessed first hand the truth of how these groups mislead youth in the name of the Syrian Revolution and the jihad, saying “in the two months that I stayed with them I saw how all they did was send people to die in the name of the revolution. I saw how those who call themselves commanders of the revolution only looted the areas we entered and how they sent the objects they looted to be sold in Turkey. I saw up-close how this blind violence had nothing to do with the revolution or with jihad. Perhaps some youth are really coming because they believe in the jihad. But I believe now that these youth are going nowhere but to their deaths. For that reason I am calling on those youth in Europe and Islamic countries who are being organized and sent off in the name of jihad, do not believe them and go where you go but do not come to Syria. Because in Syria there is no revolution or jihad.”
Despite realizing these truths, Beshir explains how he was unable to find a way to return. He also narrates how in the training camps they attempt to turn the recruits against Kurds, saying “in the training they gave us they often said that Kurds were not Muslims. With this they were preparing us to fighting against the Kurds. However I was surprised when I heard the call to prayer the first time after I was captured by the public security members (asayiş). Later when I said that I wanted to pray they showed me the utmost respect and after explaining my experiences over those two months I asked for help from them to return to my country.”
The Afrin Public Security helped with Muhammed’s request by bringing to the border with Kilis where they sent him with a fellow Algerian who took him to the Algerian consulate.