On multiple occasions I have written about the Russian-backed, V Corps-affiliated Dir' al-Watan whose main base is in the village of Zeita on the border with Lebanon in Homs countryside. On 1 January 2019, I interviewed al-Hajj Hussein Ja'afar, who is from al-Qasr in Lebanon. He is the deputy leader of Dir' al-Watan and brother of al-Hajj Muhammad Ja'afar, who leads Dir' al-Watan.
Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Q: How would you describe the general situation in Syria with the advent of the New Year? Can we say for example that the Syrian government has been victorious?
A: Yes brother. The situation in Syria is very good and it [the government] has been victorious by God's help and the help of its allies.
Q: What do you think about the American withdrawal from Syria? What are the reasons behind it?
A: The American withdrawal shows the victory of Syria and it [America] failed to achieve anything because of the allied force for Syria.
Q: You mean the withdrawal is because of the steadfastness of Syria's allies?
A: Yes because of the steadfastness of Syria and its allies.
Q: But what are your expectations regarding the Kurdish forces in northeast Syria that the American occupier has supported? Will they come to an agreement with the Syrian government before a Turkish attack on the area?
A: Of course an agreement will happen between the Kurdish forces and Syria in order to renovate the Syrian situation, and a reconciliation will be carried out.
Q: But this requires the return of all the institutions of the Syrian state to the area, and as we saw in Afrin the Kurds did not agree to that.
A: Brother all the institutions will return to the embrace of Syria and of course the agreement will happen.
Q: With the beginning of normalization of relations between the Arab states (e.g. Emirates and Saudi) and Syria, do these Arab states remain enemies?
A: Syria's heart is big and it [Syria] will forgive all.
Q: I mean at the regional level, as these states are allies of America.
A: Whoso wants to be an ally for the resistance axis, Syria will welcome him. And whoso does not desire that, he is naturally an enemy of Syria.
Q: Yes. So for example it seems that the Emirates wants to normalize relations with Syria with the aim of distancing Syria from its Iranian ally. So is the Emirates still an enemy?
A: Whoso wants to be an ally of Syria, let him go to Iran first. Syria and Iran are one body that cannot be divided no matter how great the conspiracies are.
Q: Yes. So if Syria benefits from Emirati money for reconstruction, there is no problem with that, but this money will not end the alliance between Syria and Iran, correct?
A: Correct. Brother, the relationship between Syria and Iran is a very strong relationship. No one in the world can shake it.
Q: Yes. What are the current operations for Dir' al-Watan and how many martyrs has the formation offered until now?
A: Currently there are no operations and the number of martyrs is 47.
Q: And what are the coming operations if God wills?
A: Currently there are no required operations and according to developments we will undertake our obligation and we cannot speak about operations that we will not yet undertake.
Q: Why hasn't the Idlib battle begun yet?
A: The Idlib battle hasn't begun until now because there is the problem of the Kurds.
Q: This is the reason? Meaning the priority was to get rid of the Americans from Syria?
A: Yes naturally.