On June 17, 2019, Daraj site published an interview conducted by the journalist Hazem al-Amin with the senior leader of Daesh Saddam Al-Gamal, who was arrested by the U.S. and the Turkish intelligence, who in turn handed him over to the Iraqi intelligence, along with a group of Daesh leaders who tried to escape from Syria to Iraq in May, 2018.
As soon as the press of the Iraqi government were allowed to conduct interviews, some of these interviews, in which al-Gamal talked about the period he had gone through from 2011 until the moment of his arrest, started to appear, where in each interview he recounted all the details of his personal life and how he lived before the Syrian revolution “as a smuggler of tobacco following his father in this work”, and how he joined the Free Army, and then how Jabhat al-Nusra antagonized him killing his three brothers, and how later he became an enemy of Daesh, and then surrendered himself to the organization and became a senior leader in it until the end when he was arrested and dressed in that suit whose color changes every time he appears, once in orange and another time in yellow and it is not known what color his suit will be the next interviews if there is any again.
In one of his interviews, Al-Gamal seemed relaxed while telling the details as if he did not care about the fate he will face, he still denies the charges made against him of committing many massacres, including the slaughter of Al-Shaitat that Daesh committed against Al-Shaitat tribe, killing more than 800 of them after they rose up against the organization and opposed it.
In each interview, Saddam recounts the same story in which he exaggerated to himself that he was a key decision-maker in the province and that many battalions, brigades and armies were following his orders and even obeying him in every thing he wants, explaining that he was occupying an important position in the general staff of the Free Army, but the fact that many people do not know about Saddam al-Gamal, is that during the formation of the Free Army general Staff, he threatened the factions of the Free Army that if he did not take up a position in the region, he would make a counter-revolution, and perhaps he and those with him would become enemies from behind against any one targets the regime in Deir Ezzor.
He always tries to gain sympathy from those who don’t know who he really is, by telling the story about the killing of his brothers and the bombing of his house, where he shows that he is a poor lamb that is always targeted by all, and he evaluates himself that he was an important person in the area .. otherwise, what do you think?
Saddam Al-Jamal is like dozens or even hundreds of Daesh leaders from the Syrian smugglers, thieves and bandits whom the organization, during its period of foundation, attracted to strengthen itself in the province, and it succeeded with this plan, attracting al-Gamal, Amer al-Rafdan, Abu Saif al-Shaiti and dozens of other Syrians to its ranks and luring them with positions and the free movement to do every thing they like. This was a turning point for al-Gamal when he turned against all the factions of the Free Army, claiming that it was all about his brothers being targeted by Jabhat al-Nusra at that time, and that he would pledge allegiance to Daesh only to avenge Al-Nusra although Jabhat al-Nusra had already left Deir Ezzor province by that time to several syrian provinces, including Idlib, Aleppo and other areas, so what revenge was he talking about when there were no more any fighters of al-Nusra in Deir Ezzor if this really was his reason?
The fact that was revealed to everyone in Deir Ezzor is that he wanted to take revenge on the people of Deir ezzor province not on the factions, otherwise Daesh would not give him those military positions and the freedom to make decisions, move, arrest and execute people as he likes.
What we can’t forget is that al-Gamal was part of Ahfad al-Rasoul brigade that was formed by the dissident major Maher al-Nuaimi, and during the fighting of Ahfad al-Rasoul Brigade against Daesh in Al-Raqqa province in late 2013, al-Gamal was delaying a lot in supporting his fellow fighters of the Free army who were in the same faction he was leading, but in another province, Raqqa, this was doubtful for the Syrians, especially the people of the region, when they discovered that he was plotting even against his fighters, then all that was clear when he handed over the weapons and appeared in a video by Daesh, surrendering him self at first to his fellow thief Amer al-Rafdan – who didn’t get what he sought for during the control of the Free Army, and found it in Daesh organization – later he showed repentance to the organization which pardoned him and gave him what he wanted, especially that the Free Army and Jabhat al-Nusra in Deir Ezzor and Raqqa fought against Daesh in that time period, so it attracted him, gave him those positions and fueled his hatred pushing him to take revenge, which led to many tragedies in many areas, the most serious of which is Al-Shaitat massacre, for which al-Gamal was responsible as a planner and actor.
There is no doubt that the lies al-Gamal tells in each interview are much more than some of the truths he says as he is involved in many egregious crimes which he committed either before he joined the organization or even after that. No one knows Saddam al-Gamal better than the people of the region, especially those who knew him at the beginning of the revolution and how he thinks, where he uses these interviews in a vain attempt to gain sympathy from some of those who watch him and do not know his past and how he harmed the people of his city “Al-Bukamal” before he became a wanted criminal whose hands were stained with the blood of Deir Ezzor’s people in general. Through the interviews, Saddam seeks to pass messages that may give him the right to life, which he and Daesh had taken away from thousands of Syrians who were killed by the organization and its elements in cold blood.
What is the just fate that al-Gamal and those with him will face? And how long will it take?
Omar Abu Layla
Deir Ezzor 24 Network Executive Manager