Wealthy Saudi preacher funds bounty on regime tanks and vehicles

In the wake of regime advances in the southwest Aleppo countryside, wealthy Saudi shipping magnate and jihadi preacher Sheikh Abdullah al-Mohaisany pledged a SP150,000 bounty (approximately $678) on Wednesday to any rebel destroying a “regime war machine” in the south Aleppo countryside.  

“An announcement to the heroes of the anti-tank brigades,” began the flyer for the tank-killing campaign, distributed in the southern Aleppo countryside.

“Sheikh Abdullah al-Mohaisany, Ph.D., announces a bounty of SP150,000 for anyone who destroys a regime war machine–at a minimum a 14.5mm technical [pickup truck carrying a mounted machine gun]–on the south Aleppo front,” reads the campaign flyer.

“Offer good for one month, beginning November 18, 2015,” the flyer qualified.

To redeem the SP150,000 reward–enough cash to keep an average Syrian family of five clothed, fed and housed for almost two months–a rebel tank killer must furnish video proof.

“It’s a huge incentive for south Aleppo TOW teams, not only because of the money, but because Sheikh al-Mohaisany is extraordinarily well liked among rebel fighters,” Abu Mahmoud al-Hamawi, a media activist from the Hama countryside told Syria Direct Wednesday. Al-Hamawi is referring to the Saudi’s funding and preaching for “jihadi factions.”

Sheikh al-Mohaisany is reportedly in south Aleppo with the Victory Army rebel coalition. Having first traveled to Syria in 2013, al-Mohaisany “carried out fundraising and propaganda efforts for Salafi-jihadi factions,” including Jabhat a-Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, wrote Joanna Paraszczuk in February 2014, a journalist with Radio Free Europe who tracks Russian-speaking jihadi groups in Syria.

TOW usage by rebel brigades in Aleppo has increased 700 percent since Russian airstrikes began at the beginning of October.

Photo courtesy of Asi Agency.

Nisreen A-Nasser

Nisreen was born in Homs and received her diploma in electronics. She is passionate about photography, photoshop and has worked in the field of media to improve her skills. She moved to Jordan after the Syrian revolution began. Nisreen is interested in journalism because she wants to shine a light on forgotten stories from within her country.

Joseph Adams

Joseph was a 2013-2014 Boren Fellow in Arabic based in Amman, Jordan and is the founder of Open Syria. He holds BA and MS degrees in political science from UCLA and MIT, and is an MA degree candidate in Arabic at Middlebury College.