I have previously written about the Hezbollah-affiliated Special Force in Syria. On 16-17 August 2019, I interviewed a member of the Special Force to learn about his career in the Special Force and his perspective on the current situation in Syria. The interview is slightly condensed and edited for clarity. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
The Special Force emblem. Please do not reprint without permission.
Q: When were you born and from which locality are you?
A: I was born in 1992. Originally I am from Idlib, from the usurped village of Kafariya. I was born in Damascus: al-Qadam Asali.
Q: And when did you bear arms for the first time against the terrorists and in which area?
A: I first bore arms in 2012 when the insurgents came to us at the house and tried to kill me with my family and brothers.
Q: And you first joined the Special Force?
A: In 2012, I did the first training course in Lebanon. And I returned serving in the Yalda area. After this in 2013 I did the Special Force course and I have been affiliated with the Special Force until now.
Q: In which battles have you fought?
A: Oooohf. Many battles and areas. My first battle was in Jobar neighbourhood. The insurgents called it the Badr expedition, named for the Badr mosque that was within the block we controlled. In this battle I and some 13 youths were besieged. And we were able to break the siege and withdraw, but with 7 youths wounded and two martyred.
And I have fought in Aleppo, Idlib, Palmyra, Albukamal, Deraa, al-Suwayda', al-Dumayr, T4 airport and al-Sin airport.
Q: Were you ever wounded?
A: I was wounded once in Aleppo in Mazara' al-Malah.
Q: And currently are there any assignments?
A: I am still in the Special Force: responsible for a group. Currently we are established in al-Qutayfa: we are not going on any assignment because we are affiliated with the resistance.
Q: I see. And there are no orders to participate in the Idlib operations currently.
A: We hope to participate in any operation that happens but political matters restrict us.
Q: How do you assess the general situation in Syria today?
A: The situation generally: if you follow the statements of the Russians in the past two days, they have affirmed that the raids they have carried out do not conform with the advance on the ground and the cost has become exorbitant. And it has been necessary for the Syrian government to pay the costs. And two days ago they struck the Iranian positions and said it was by mistake. And I see [/think] that the Iranians will not leave Syria in this state with the Russians, and they will assume responsibility for the entire Idlib operation with weapons, equipment and ammunition, and even the soldiers on the ground. And in this state of affairs the Hezb [Hezbollah] will come down to the Idlib battle.
Q: Yes, so the Idlib operations cannot succeed without the Iranians.
A: The Russians are not honest in their intentions. For they are in the end foreigners and do not have a creed ['aqeeda] for which they fight.
What I mean is keeping track of the operation and not success, for victory is from God.