(AFP) "... "Our beautiful revolution has been confiscated by thieves and corruptors," Abu Mahmoud tells AFP as he struggles to hide his bitterness at the way the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's regime is being fought these days.Some rebel leaders have "enriched (themselves) shamefully at the cost of true revolutionaries who die on the front line," he says.Abu Mahmoud's remarks confirm growing reports of looting and corruption by leading insurgents in rebel-controlled areas of strife-torn Syria.
Speaking from his home in the town of Atme -- a key rebel rear base on the border with Turkey -- Abu Mahmoud says he now watches his back, taking his Kalashnikov with him when he heads out "chopping wood or grazing goats in the mountains".
Rebel fighters who took up arms against Assad's forces in the initial days of the rebellion are increasingly abandoning their fight, frustrated at the level of corruption in their leadership, he says."These so-called commanders send us to die and they themselves stay behind to make money. They don't come to the front line to fight and yet they are the ones who are heading the rebellion," complains Abu Mahmoud.
"Wherever they go, they rob, they steal whatever they can carry and sell it illegally in Turkey -- be it cars, electronic goods, machines, fuel, antiques, anything you can imagine!"
Abu Mahmoud cites the names of a dozen commanders from the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) -- the main group fighting Assad's forces -- who he says are engaging in such practices in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo.
One officer, whose unit of around 100 fighters is reputed for "raids" on abandoned apartments in Aleppo, has sold "arms, cars and even his office in the border town of Bab al-Hawa" to build two beautiful homes and marry a third wife.
Abu Mahmoud also tells of a former craftsman from Atme who was broke before the uprising but who now controls a fleet of luxury cars through assisting the FSA in coordinating its logistics and moving internally displaced people.
"The problem is that a lot of these officers are getting overseas support."
He said his group used to receive some money from Mustafa Sheikh, a former head of the FSA but this support has now stopped..."Who are we fighting for? For our country? Or for those who steal from Syrians and quietly climb the ladder of the revolution?"..."
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
"Our revolution in Syria is over; we have been betrayed!"
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 8:30 PM