A Russian instructor training militants near Idlib, Syria, was interviewed by OGN Media in a video released on social media networks on July 14. The instructor, who belongs to a "storming military unit" established in 2016 to help rebels in their fight against the Assad regime, said that he hoped that the rebels would join forces under a unified leadership. His unit, he said, was training rebels to perform "high-profile combats and infiltration operations," and he offered help and training to any interested group. The interview was held in Russian with English subtitles, from which the following transcript was made.
Faruq Shami: "This is OGN Russian I am Faruq Shami. We have with us an instructor from the group known as Malhama Tactical. Please tell us about your group."
Instructor: "We are the instructors of a storming military unit. Our team was created in 2016, with an intention to help rebels in their fight against regime of Bashar Al-Assad. We teach rebels how to fight, give them tactical training, teach them target shooting, medical care. We have been participating in previous battles as instructors and also as a storming unit, when there was a need for our help we would enter a battle. Our main goal is to radically change the rebel's tactics of combat in order for them to effectively confront the enemy and defeat it."
Faruq Shami: "Why do you consider infiltration attacks to be important and focus on them?"
Instructor: "As we can see, for example two days ago our students preformed an operation, and these operations have become more frequent. These operations greatly exhaust the enemy. The enemy is continuously in a stressful situation and does not know where to expect strikes from. I recommend all rebel groups to create such teams which will frequently carry out such operations and cause damage to our enemy. This is the best way to deplete our opponent and defeat him."
Faruq Shami: "Recently, we have seen that the rebels were launching large-scale offensives, but their offensives were not successful. What is the reason, do you think?"
Instructor: "First of all, the reason is that when the brothers begin the operation and it passes successfully, Russian and Syrian aircraft begin massively bombing civilians, and eventually rebels hands get tied. The enemy doesn’t only use conventional bombs, but also prohibited ones. And the second reason is that not all rebel groups are well trained and there is no unity among them which we would like to have. But we hope that this situation will be resolved and soon there will be a front where all rebel groups will constitute one body. Because without unified command it is going to be more difficult to be successful."
Faruq Shami: "Which tactics do you think will help give the rebels success against the Assad regime?"
Instructor: "As I said, I recommend increasing the number of infiltration attacks to cause damage to the enemy. But the most efficient solution is to unite all of the rebel groups, to have unified leadership, so that we will be able to open fronts and train our fighters with one unified method under the one leadership. This is what we are striving for and want to achieve."
Faruq Shami: "Daraa is about to fall, many territories have fallen into regime hands, Daraa has been considered a symbol of the people's revolt against the tyrannical oppression of Bashar Al-Assad, and people's morale has fallen. Do you think is it possible to restore the original morale that the Syrian people had when they rose up against the tyrannical regime of Bashar Al-Assad, and if yes, how?"
Instructor: "The war will not stop by the falling of Daraa or any other territory. The war will not stop, we will not stop because of loss of some piece of land. The war will continue. We are currently training rebels to perform high profile combats and infiltration operations. As for the people, people need great victories. And we hope that soon we will witness these victories and will liberate territories which are currently under the regime's control. I hope we will achieve great victories and the motivation and morale which you have mentioned will come back. We will continue our work, let's not lose heart."
Faruq Shami: "So you say, that victories will bring back morale of the people?"
Instructor: "Of course. If there will be victories everything will continue, people will have motivation to keep going on."
Faruq Shami: "In conclusion, what do you want to say to the people who are watching this interview?"
Instructor: "To those who are here, in Syria, to those who are in charge of groups, I want to say they should feel free to seek our assistance, we are always ready to help them, participate along with them in operations and carry out tactical training. We have new courses in which we train fighters to shoot from machine guns and RPGs. We want them to know that we will stay together with them to the end. As for those who are outside Syria we want them to continue their help and support."
Faruq Shami: "Thank you for your time. This was OGN Russian, I am Faruq Shami."