Syrian regime fingerprints in the assassinations in Deir ez-Zor

MIT-ISIS-SNA secret cells have been working for a long time in areas such as Manbij, Raqqa, Tabqa, Deir ez-Zor, where the Arab people live in the North-East Syrian Democratic Autonomous Administration.

SDF Security Forces captured a person named Abdurrezak Nawaf Al Qatay saying he targeted Arab tribal leaders and opinion leaders. Al Qatay confessed that the assassination cell was created by the Syrian state.

The SDF Security Forces reported that the person in question was arrested on 29 July, while distributing a statement declaring the establishment of a "Armed Arab Resistance" to assassinate local council co-chairs in Şeddadê.

Abdurrezzak Nevaf Al Qatay, born in 1981 in Şeddadê, confessed that the organization named "The Resistance of Armed Arabs" was created by the Syrian state in the form of secret cells to murder opinion leaders, tribal leaders, parliamentary co-chairs and members of the court of justice close to the SDF.

Abdurrezzak Nevaf Al Qatay, referring to the assassinations of two opinion leaders in Deir ez-Zor last week, said: "Before us, the Hesekê team, they had tried in Deir ez-Zor.”

Saying that the Syrian state intelligence tasked him with the assassination of tribal leaders, opinion leaders and members of parliament close to the SDF in the region, Al Qatay's confessions are as follows: "My brother is a clerk in the regime institution in Hesekê. He introduced me to Abu Mohammed, who is in the Hesekê political intelligence of the Syrian state.

We went to Hesekê with my brother on 19 July. I and Abu Muhammad met there in a park in the regime-controlled area. We discussed about the tribal leaders, opinion leaders and co-chairs of the SDF councils in the area. It was discussed that this work would be carried out in secret. First of all, I was given the task of distributing papers. Leaflets were delivered to me on July 29. I distributed them as we discussed. I secretly distributed the leaflets to the tribal chiefs, opinion leaders in the region and the co-chairs of the parliament affiliated to the SDF. Leaflets were thrown under their doors.”

Al Qatay explained that the Syrian state announced the cell was created to carry out its counter activities in the region under the name of "Armed Arab Resistance" as if it were something independent from it.

Al Qatay continued: “All our actions had to be carried out undercover. In the content of the declaration, opinion leaders, tribal leaders and parliamentary co-chairs acting with the SDF were threatened, but the name of the Syrian state was never mentioned. The Syrian state was doing this job, but we used the name Armed Arab Resistance. Secrecy was very important. No cell would know each other, except for a few people who were dealing with each other. That's why I don't know the units elsewhere.”

Drawing attention to the assassinations carried out in Deir ez-Zor in the last week, Abdurrezzak Nevaf El Qatay said: “We saw what happened in Deir ez-Zor. The same work had to be carried out here. These targets had to be shot and eliminated. But the Deir ez-Zor and Hasekê cells were separate from each other. We do not know each other. I have been caught. Had I not been caught, we would have had another meeting with Abu Muhammad and he would have introduced me to some people."

The statement seized on Abdurrezzak Nevaf El Qatay was handwritten. Originally in Arabic, it stated that a formation was established under the name of "Resistance of Armed Arabs".

El Qatay said: “We ask the Arab people not to talk about this work. We give the good news that our insurgents are everywhere. Again, our insurgents have infiltrated them. They are in a position to hit them from within.”

MIT-ISIS-SNA secret cells have been working for a long time in areas such as Manbij, Raqqa, Tabqa, Deir ez-Zor, where the Arab people live in the North-East Syrian Democratic Autonomous Administration. In the region, a secret cell of MIT-ISIS-SNA was captured by SDF Security Forces and Internal Security Forces, and their confessions were shared with the public.

Omer Elik, member of Raqqa Civil Council and MSD (Syrian Democratic Council), was murdered on 14 March 2018; Beşir Feysel El Huwedi, one of the tribal leaders of Afadla, on 2 November 2018; Deir ez-Zor Civil Council Co-chair Mervan El Fiteyih was murdered as a result of the Turkish-ISIS partnership on 29 December 2018. On 30 July, Süleyman El-Kessar, the opinion leader of the Egêdad tribe, one of the most populous tribes of Deir ez-Zor, was killed in an armed attack in front of his house in Buseyra district. On 31 July, 2020, Sheikh Ali El-Wis was attacked by unidentified people on his way to the mosque in El-Dehla Town. El-Wis died in the attack.