March 21, 2013
Fighting between the FSA and its allies and regime forces continues across Deir a-Zor province. Recently, rebels claimed control of a regime air-defense base in the province close to the Iraqi border, events reported by Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera. SAS News reporter Abbas Deiri spoke with Omar Abu Laila, a spokesman for the Islamist group Eastern Front, to find out more about loose Scud missiles in the region.
Q: Does the regime store Scud missiles in Dayr E-Zor? How many?
A: Yes they do because the FSA has captured some of them after liberating al-Kibar nuclear site. As for how many, the FSA has captured two missiles with launchers.
Q: Did the regime use Scud missiles in the province? What did they target?
A: We are positive the regime used these missiles against other Syrian provinces. According to the commander of Liberation Dawn 1 operation, these missiles were found in a facility prepared for experiments. They were placed there because the location was far from the clashes in the city, but the FSA was able to reach and liberate it.
Q: How were the Scuds captured?
A: The missile was gained in al-Kibar area in the western rural side of Dayr E-Zor. It’s the same area targeted by the Israeli air force in 2007, because they suspected there was a nuclear reactor. Jafar al-Tayar Brigade, which works under the umbrella of the Revolutionary Council in the East, is the group who has it.
Q: Is the FSA in Dayr E-Zor considering using this missile? What will they target?
A: Major Abo Hamza, the head of Jafar al-Tayar Brigade, had clarified in an official statement that the IAEA would have to visit al-Kibar site once liberated to inspect it. As for whether they will use the Scud missile, this will be up to the operation room to decide when and where to use it.
Q: Is the FSA in Dayr E-Zor capable of operating the missile? Which group is capable of handing it?
A: The Jafar al-Tayar Brigade is one of the first organized groups in the FSA. They work according to a constitution and a set of principles. When they plan to capture a Scud missile, they have the expertise to deal with it. This brigade includes army officers of all ranks who defected more than 18 months ago.
Q: How much of Dayr E-Zor does the FSA hold?
A: The FSA controls more than 80% of Dayr E-Zor province and the entire rural area, which is the biggest liberated area in Syria.