Syrian rebels burn Palestinian flag, thinking it’s Iranian

Youtube video shows confusion among Islamist rebels who capture border crossing with Turkey

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Syrian rebels who captured the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey last week have been destroying symbols of the old regime and its backers found in the border-control building. But an amateur video posted on Youtube shows the men to be inexpert in distinguishing those they consider allies from those they regard as enemies.

In the video, posted last Thursday soon after the crossing was captured, they burn what they say is an Iranian flag. In fact, it is Palestinian.

The men identify themselves as belonging to the little-known Revolutionary Armored Brigade and the Mujahideen Shoura Council. The cameraman declares that they are burning the Iranian flag as they set flame to the Palestinian flag, as well as to a portrait of deceased Syrian president Hafez Assad and a banner of the IHH, an Islamic Turkish NGO which funded the Gaza flotilla in which nine Turkish citizens were killed when IDF commandos stormed their vessel in May 2010.

“We are doing this in support of our brothers in [the Syrian towns of] Banias and Daraa, and in memory of the victims of the Treimseh massacre,” says the cameraman. “We are burning the picture of the buried one [the late Assad] who burned this country.”

“Our brothers the Mujahedeen, our brothers the Free Syrian Army, you are all united against the dictators, against Russia, against China and against Iran. You stand against [Hezbollah chief] Hassan Nasrallah who claims to be for the resistance, but he is a liar.”

Israeli expert Mordechai Kedar claimed Monday that Islamist elements were likely behind the bombing of the national security headquarters in Damascus last Wednesday, rather than the more secular-oriented Free Syrian Army. The organizations mentioned in the video from Bab Al-Hawa seem to support the assessment that overtly Islamist elements are active in Syria’s opposition movement alongside the Free Syrian Army.

The Syrian opposition has gained control of three border crossings, two with Turkey and one with Iraq.


read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed