Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq is one of the Iraqi formations that fought in Syria on the side of the Syrian government forces. Within a joint formation called the Haydari Force, Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq developed its special contingent for fighting in Syria under the name Liwa Kafil Zainab.
To discuss the history of Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq's involvement in Syria, I interviewed al-Hajj Amar Abbas Abdullah al-Tamimi, who is the commander of the Fawj Quwat al-Nukhba in Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq and a veteran of the group's operations in Syria.
This interview was conducted on 24 May 2019. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
al-Hajj Ammar al-Tamimi outside Albukamal in eastern Deir az-Zor province on the border with Iraq.
Q: When were you born?
A: 1984. I am from the inhabitants of Baghdad (al-Karrada).
Q: What year did you join Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq?
A: I joined the Islamic Resistance- Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq in 2009 after I left U.S. detention.
Q: When did the Americans arrest you? Were you in Jaysh al-Imam al-Mahdi?
Q: I was arrested in 2007. I was with Jaysh al-Imam al-Mahdi.
Q: When did you go to Syria for the first time?
A: I went to al-Sham in 2013.
Q: When you went to Syria first time, you were within a joint formation called the Haydari Force right? It was composed of a number of factions as I believe like Kata'ib Hezbollah, Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada' and Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq.
A: Yes, yes. We came within the Haydari Force. The Haydari Force included Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, Kata'ib Hezbollah- Iraq, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard [IRGC], Lebanese Hezbollah, Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada', Ansar al-Aqeeda, Ansar al-Hujja.
Q: Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas was not within the Haydari Force, right?
A: No, no. Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas [was] outside the scope of the Haydari Force: the Haydari Force supported by the Islamic Republic [of Iran].
Q: You entered Syria via Iran?
A: Yes yes, all of us via the Islamic Republic.
Q: Also in which areas did you fight in al-Sham exactly?
A: The first thing we liberated was the airport highway, connecting between al-Sayyida [Zainab] and Damascus airport. After we moved to East Ghouta: Hatitat al-Turkoman, meaning all of al-Sham [Damascus]. I also fought in Deraa, I fought in Aleppo, Homs, Albukamal, Deir az-Zor, Duwar al-Hujeira [near al-Sayyida Zainab], and I was struck with some wounds.
Q: How many times were you wounded and also how many martyrs has Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq offered in Syria approximately?
A: Wounds in al-Sham: I was wounded with four wounds. And Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq has offered more than 700 martyrs in al-Sham [Syria].
Q: How do you assess the situation in Syria today? And where does Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq operate in al-Sham [Syria] currently?
A: The situation in Syria is very good. And praise be to God, the forces of the heroic Syrian army have taken control of the situation. Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq in al-Sham: we currently just have a base in al-Sham in East Ghouta: a base. And also we operate in Albukamal and Iraq.
Q: You have also fought in Iraq right? In which areas exactly? Were you wounded in the Iraq battles against the terrorist Da'esh organization [Islamic State]?
A: Yes yes. When we were fighting in Syria, the security situation in Iraq deteriorated. During the leave we had in Iraq we remained and participated with our brothers in Iraq. We fought within the formations of the Hashd Sha'abi Commission. We fought in al-Karma, Fallujah, Ramadi, Salah al-Din, Baiji, in all of them we participated. And then finally in the Mosul operations.