Previously, as part of a series on interviewing Iraqis in Syria, I conducted an interview with Sayyid Firas al-Mahdawi of Liwa al-Imam al-Hussein. On 24 May 2019, I interviewed Abu al-Layl al-Sadri al-Khaykani, a member of the group Liwa Dhu al-Fiqar. The interview is presented below. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Q: When were you born? And were you living in Syria before the crisis began?
A: I was born in 1992 and was living in Syria before the crisis.
Q: What year did you come to Syria exactly? And for what reasons?
A: 2000. For reasons that we were wanted by the Saddamist Ba'ath Party.
Q: How was life in Syria before the crisis?
A: A natural life, nothing nicer than it.
Q: And when did you bear arms for the first time against terrorism in Syria? And with which formation were you?
A: When Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas was first established, I was with it.
Q: And after it you joined Liwa Dhu al-Fiqar straight away?
A: Yes. We subsequently formed Liwa Dhu al-Fiqar after Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas.
Q: Yes. For what reasons did you separate from Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas?
A: There are no reasons, but we wanted to separate. The Syrians are one and the Iraqis are one. On the cotnrary despite our separation from Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas we are connected by affection and work with each other.
Q: In which areas did you fight within the ranks of Liwa Dhu al-Fiqar?
A: Deraa, Quneitra, Sayyida Zainab (peace be upon her), Sham [Damascus] and the peripheries of al-Sham. Dumayr, Palmyra, Deir az-Zor. All the areas.
Q: Were you ever wounded? And do you know how many martyrs the brigade [Liwa Dhu al-Fiqar] has offered approximately?
A: Yes I was wounded. And the martyrs by God I do not know: many.
Q: In which battles were you wounded?
A: I was wounded in my eye and hand in Deraa.
Q: Most of the brigade's members are Syrians or Iraqis?
A: Iraqis and Syrians.
Q: Mixed you mean.
A: Yes. There is no difference: Syrian or Iraqi.
Q: Do you consider yourself among the followers of the al-Sadr family?
Q: Who was responsible for your training in the beginning?
A: Training, thanks be to God, we undertook it by ourselves.
Q: And currently in which areas does the brigade operate?
Q: And the salary is from the al-Bustan Association?
A: The salary is 60,000 Syrian pounds.
Q: Yes, but it is from the al-Bustan Association right? Since the brigade is affiliated with it.
A: Yes affiliated with the al-Bustan Association.
Q: From where are the brigade's weapons? The Syrian Army?
A: From the Syrian Army, yes.
Q: Is it true that Hezbollah helped you in setting up Liwa Dhu al-Fiqar?
Q: How do you assess the situation in Syria today?
A: By God the situation is improving little by little but living is expensive because of the situation that has arisen and the circumstances this land has been through.