Fighters from across the globe have joined the war against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, including hundreds of Egyptians who have completed their engagement in their own revolution and turned toward the “holy war” in Syria.
The argument that people who join jihadist organizations are impoverished or uneducated does not apply to Abu Rami, 37, an Egyptian jihadist and father of two children who is a graduate student in Islamic Shariah. He has been back and forth between Syria and Egypt four times in the past year alone. Abu Rami has gained the confidence of the Syrian Revolutionary Security Association, which has taken over law enforcement roles in liberated areas in Syria. The association plays an executive and judicial role to punish criminals and others who take advantage of the security vacuum. At one point, the association asked him to run one of its offices, but he said he preferred to teach the ways of Islam when he was not actually firing his weapon.
Like many fighters, he entered Turkey on a visa and was smuggled through rebel-controlled border crossings.
“Most of the Egyptian jihadists in Syria are not part of the Islamic movement in Egypt. They are independent, well-educated people with no financial or social problems; their motivation is based on true jihad that knows no borders and calls for the protection of Muslim women and children who are killed and raped on a daily basis in Syria.”
The trip to Syria costs no more than the equivalent of $250, including visa fees and airline costs, Abu Rami told Al-Monitor.
“There is no way of assessing how many Egyptians are fighting in Syria, but there are at least a couple of hundred fighters," Abu Rami said.
He added, “We even resort to moving through the sewage system at times to avoid being detected by snipers.”
In February, the Egyptian government broadcast on national television the names and photographs of 10 Egyptian “martyrs” killed in different conflict zones in Syria.
“There are also three Egyptian jihadists who were not listed in the official government count who had entered Syria through Lebanon and were martyred last February in a successful military operation in Homs, which led to the death of at least 400 officers and soldiers from the Assad regime, according to a statement released by the Syrian government itself,” Abu Rami said.
There is no doubt that Skype has been the best method of communication between Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters and the Syrian diaspora trying to keep tabs on the situation on the ground.
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