Fall of ISIS will lead to the collapse of Assad regime: Tribal leader


Militant fighters of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS). File photo

ARA News

Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan Brigadier Ali Ellow is a member of the anti-Assad Arab clan of al-Sheitaat, who have long fought against the Syrian regime and the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) in Deir ez-Zor province. Ellow occupied different posts before his dissidence from the Syrian regime, including Legal Office Director of the former Interior Minister Ghazi Kanaan.

Recently, IS militants fighters took over the main villages of al-Sheitaat clan in Deir ez-Zor countryside, after killing about 700 members of the clan.

Speaking to ARA News in an exclusive interview, Ellow raised several issues.

Fall of Military Airport 

Ellow pointed out that the fall of Tabqa Military Airport in the hands of the Islamic State’s (IS) militants was a” transaction between the Assad regime and IS”, adding: “Pro-Assad soldiers were the scapegoats.”

“Showing IS strength was the aim behind the Tabqa operation. The regime supported IS in gaining this image because it will show the world that it can get rid of IS; it is an absurd play,” he argued.

Ellow mentioned the conflicted statements by the Syrian regime’s officials regarding Tabqa airport, saying: “Sometimes they say it is an unimportant agricultural airport. Then they stress that their forces were able to get senior officers and all heavy weapons and aircrafts out of the airport.”

However, Ellow thinks that “Iran planned for this operation” and the next step will be handing over Kweris Military Airport in the countryside of Aleppo to the Islamic State.

Who Falls First?  

Following the U.S. announcement of sending exploratory drones to Syria and the intention of hitting IS strongholds in Iraq, Ellow believes that people understood the relationship between the Assad regime, the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda branch in Syria).

“If IS falls, the regime’s downfall will follow,” he said. “The revolutionary forces (battalions of the armed opposition) are winning on the ground across Syria.”

Ellow pointed out that a political transition “is about to take place”, which will be followed by the formation of a transitional government, “especially after the anti-IS war intensifies.

According to Ellow, the Syrian regime was “unable to protect its soldiers”, and it was “obliged” to start operations against IS militants due to “the state of worry and resentment among Alawites (sect of President Bashar al-Assad).”

“For the rebels, IS was a main obstacle which prevented fighting pro-Assad military forces; if IS falls, all inoperative fronts will restart battles against regime again,” Ellow told ARA News.

Future of Syria

“We suffered under a totalitarian and centralized rule by the Assad families for decades,” Ellow said. “This type of rule produced repression, exclusion and dictatorship. We no longer want this, as it does not comply with the principles of democracy and human rights.”

Ellow supports the establishment of a federal state in Syria, “where the basic authorities are shared between the capital and the provinces”.

“Provinces will have local authorities protected by the constitution, where each province has an executive and a judicial system as well as local parliament,” he clarified. “Resources will be managed by provinces themselves, where a portion is allocated to the central government according to strategic plans. Defence and foreign policy will be the central government’s task.”

Ellow thinks the federal system will fit Syria the best in the future; “like the system in Iraq, UAE and all developed countries around the world”.

“This ruling system guarantees participatory governance, supports the state and keeps its unity and safety against destructive agendas,” Ellow stated.

Ellow believes this will happen following the fall of the Assad regime, establishing the constituent assembly and drafting the constitution.

He also pointed out that unifying the three provinces of Hasakah, Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa (in northeastern Syria) into one territory would not collide with his vision of Syria the future.

“The same projection was previously proposed by the Kurdish politician Fuad Aliko, the former Secretary of the Kurdish Yekiti Party in Syria, in which he suggested merging the three provinces (Hasakah, Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa) as well as Aleppo province in one federal territory,” Ellow told ARA News, adding that such a project would maintain the unity of Syria.

Ellow summarized his vision for the future of Syria as: “A pluralistic democratic civic state, a state of citizenship, law and social justice.”

Alawites After Regime’s Fall

“Some may think that Alawites are responsible for destroying the country, which is not accurate,” Ellow said. “However, the Assad regime succeeded in intimidating them (Alawits) of death if they choose to be on the other side (with the opposition).”

“The regime was able to attract many people from other sects, but many were forcibly involved in the conflict. Alawites were merely victims like many other Syrians,” Ellow told ARA News.

Brigadier Ali Ellow highlighted the importance of having comprehensive national reconciliation in the future as well as restructuring the social values and national morals that the Assad regime “distorted”.


Interview by: Nour al-Dein Othman

Source: ARA News

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