I am a Free Syrian Army smuggler. I smuggle documents, passports, cash, people, and on rare occasions, ammunition and weapons into Syria from Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, and Northern Africa. I get the goods from several sources, most of which I have usually never made contact with before, I am always set up by my commander then sent out . This requires me to travel through several different countries at a time. I use a Canadian passport for travelling to make this much easier. أنا أتكلم العربية أيضا, إذا أردتم سؤالي بالعربية فاسألوني.

Proof:

My flights, a few ID's, modified phone, a few sim cards, and my passport with timestamp.

FSA gunner I brought ammunition for on one occasion

Entrance to one of the tunnels

Inside the tunnels

Some cash from an exchange, didn't get to keep it of course

EDIT: had to remove a picture with sensitive information.

EDIT II: Going to bed but will keep answering questions in the morning.

EDIT III: Deleted passport photos for security reasons

EDIT IV: Angry PM's. So much hate:

"You make me sick you Saudi backed aids pig. I hope your dad dies and the SAA put a bullet in your head! Keep talking, the SAA will get you and they will show you! As a syrian, you make sick! Hope you die like a pig" -mohamm2706

"Scum, i hope you get deported to Syria so Assad/shibbha/shia/chrisitans/patriotic Syrians can kill you. fuck you, your the reason Iraq is destabilized right now (at least the arab part) you got blood on your hands" - kill_whabbi

Comments: 677 • Responses: 85  • Date: 

Islander177698 karma

Hope you find peace in your life OP!

yabroud41 karma

thank you!

ClearlySituational71 karma

Why did you choose your side?

yabroud175 karma

Well since around 2009-2011 I didn't really have a choice of which side I was on. You know those 'death to america' and anti assad protests you see on the streets sometimes with kids holding up signs and stuff? I was in one of those growing up, but i didnt want to be. Anti america/west groups came into our high school one several times at gun point and demanded we participate in these rallys or we would be shot right their. I chose the FSA side because its really the only option i have at this point. The state police destroyed my uncles store because he was believed to be a 'rebel' even though he was never involved in any of that stuff. They would also fire into crowds of peaceful protests, killing civilians. Something is defiantly wrong when the government is trying that hard to silence people, I deleted my facebook account because i was tired of seeing a different friend have 'rip' on his wall every single day and it was too stressful. All i know is that with the FSA, im housed, clothed, fed, and protected. I would never contact the police if my life was in danger which it is.

ikantspeell42 karma

how do most Syrians feel about American's and the West?

yabroud138 karma

Well no one 'hates the west' those are all extremists who are trying to use that and islam to gain more power in the middle east by using the west and their 'immoral ways' as a fear tactics to gain more supporters. all those death to america rallys you see are either members of those groups, or towns and schools forced to participate at gunpoint, as i was.

We generally have a favorable view towards americans, we watch their moives, tv shows, eat their foods. parents try to send their kids to school their if they have the money. friends and relatives are jealous of family members that study or live in canada and america. its really nowhere as bad as a view you would think.

The west intervening in the war though draws suspicious. some are in support of it, as i am, i dont really care what their intentions are at this point (oil, destabilization, geo-political leverage) i just want the death to end. and some dont want any outside counties to get involved, and they want the syrian people to handle it.

EDIT: This is what i feel the opinion towards the west for my age group is, the younger generation (less than 30).

DogBoneSalesman20 karma

You do realize that Americans are not going to support the FSA if it gets infiltrated and taken over by Al Qaeda fighters right?

Edit: Or Muslim extremest.

yabroud71 karma

Well, I wouldn't really want them to support al-qaeda anyways. I'd rather have them come in and find a way to stop all the fighting, as childish as it sounds thats all i want. no sure how that would be done though, maybe no fly zone over the whole country, a curfew, im not really sure how to be honest

leesochka11 karma

What would you say to the argument that intervention will just breed more violence, that it's fighting fire with fire? Though I don't know much, it's obvious that there isn't much of an alternative in Syria...but do you think physical opposition is capable of accomplishing peace?

yabroud66 karma

Well I would understand 100% that it may not work at all, but i do know when obama was threatening to intervene like half a year ago, the assad government was legitimately scared and activity slowed down noticeably in major cities, waiting for the decision on if he would intervene or not. when it was announced they would not, everything went back to normal.

TigerCIaw-4 karma

Well no one 'hates the west' those are all extremists who are trying to use that and islam to gain more power in the middle east by using the west and their 'immoral ways' as a fear tactics to gain more supporters. all those death to america rallys you see are either members of those groups, or towns and schools forced to participate at gunpoint, as i was.

That sounds unbelievable when you consider drone strikes, wars, harsh sanctions against certain countries and all kinds of questionable interventions in the middle east. I myself can understand the reasons for these things up to a certain point, but when you have so many intentional and unintentional incidents which cause so much havoc, pain and death to innocent people even without consequences for the people who caused it or to the process itself - even I begin to hate what we in the west must look like to those affected by it.

.

For me it looks more like you and your friends just haven't seen the bad side of "the west" yet.

yabroud7 karma

Well when i mean hates the west, i mean, marching through city streets chanting death to america and its people kind of hate. And their has not been nearly as many strike attempts in syria as lets say, Yemen. And yes we are fairly young and have not lived through or witnessed what others have, the most/only ive seen was during the syrian civil war

sultayne29 karma

Hey. I'm a fellow syrian, although im an expat now from Homs. Just curious: You mentioned something about armed gangs coming into your school and forcing you to join protests. What were these armed gangs (Government, Rebel, or Jihadist) and what protests were they forcing you to attend (Pro Assad, Anti Assad).

Also, did you just join the FSA as a smuggler, or were you a low rank fighter. Either way, were you in the Government army and a defector?

And finally, what does it look like for the FSA? With many more Jihadist and Islam-inspired groups appearing, is their hope for a more secular, not overtly-religious, future in Syria?

wish you the best.

yabroud32 karma

If you're Syrian you should know about the anti-west pro-regime demonstrations that used to happen all the time, and the regime (mukhabarat) would force school kids to go to these protests. I am not a fighter or a defector, just a smuggler. The last question I cannot answer, I do not know.

mopehead7 karma

[deleted]

yabroud15 karma

the anti-west pro-regime demonstrations that used to happen all the time, and the regime (mukhabarat) would force school kids to go to these protests. i wont tell you the city exactly, but it happens in several all the time.

Exposuredd54 karma

I'm a student and photographer. I'm going to syria to try and show people here the truth. Any tips? (What i should do or not do?)

yabroud183 karma

To be honest, I think whoever you are with, as long as you identify yourself as an outsider who want's to send their stories and messages back to the outside world, they will be more than eager to tell you their stories and the 'truth'. They really don't have a voice in syria anymore, so whoever you talk to, no matter which side they are on will tell you their struggles and hope for you to carry their messages to the outside world.

I would recommend not going to any cities that are still being fought for. Go only to 100% rebel controlled cities, and 100% state army controlled cities. Also, if you hear about a bombing or explosion that occurs in a city/block near you, be very cautious of rushing over right away, both sides like to use a 'delayed' tactic, where they have a small-medium size explosion, and then wait for civilians and medics to show up, then they hit the same spot with a large explosion, maximizing deaths.

Exposuredd48 karma

Thanks!!

yabroud103 karma

No problem! Also always ask before you take a picture of someones uncovered face. They may fear it may end up somewhere and that you may be putting their family or life in danger if that picture get published somewhere (even if you aren't planning on publishing it, they don't know that, so just ask to be safe.)

nom_yourmom45 karma

My advice would be to not go to Syria. I'm sure your mother agrees with me.

yabroud45 karma

True, also reports are not immune to gunfire. Their was a famous asian reporter woman that rushed to a neighborhood where gunfire broke out to catch same footage. needless to say, she got shot and killed. this happened while i was in syria, i was on in the south though, but we still heard about it. regardless of what the news stories say about who killed her, their is no way of knowing for sure and it was a stupid move on her part to run into the streets during a gun fight.

flavourenhancer62124 karma

Do you have to crawl in the tunnels or are they bigger than they appear?

yabroud72 karma

Well it depends really. Let's say im in egypt trying to get into gaza, their are usually about 3 kinds of tunnels that i can take, the cheapest one, the median one, and the more expensive one (usually around 50-100 USD. The cheapest one is very dangerous and you sometimes have to be lowered in by ropes. would not recommend. you're looking at a medium one right now.

flavourenhancer62135 karma

So the tunnels have a cost like a toll booth ?

Each tunnel maintained by different people for profit ? Or are they maintained by rebels.

yabroud88 karma

Yes like a toll booth, and the ones who built, dug the tunnels are the ones charging others to use it. The nicer they are, the more they feel like you owe them to use it, which makes perfect sense. They are essentially self-owned/operated. Anyone can go through if they pay.

surfnsky23 karma

Why is it always a Canadian Passport??

yabroud64 karma

High foreign born population. high number of citizens living outside of canada. very low suspision. and easier than a US or British passport to navigate though the middle east with

zorro39872 karma

So you could had have any of theses passports?

yabroud13 karma

yes, but canada would be the easiest to get

ChuckNorrisAteMySock21 karma

What elements of the FSA do you smuggle for? Have you ever encountered the Al-Qaeda affiliated rebels?

yabroud34 karma

Im not sure what you mean by elements, can you clarify?

I have not but keep in mind, al-qaeda and the fsa are both fighting against assad, but not necessarily working together. they both dislike assad, but SA doesnt want its involvement to be well known or publicized, so they may self identify themselves as fsa rebels. al qaeda though doesnt have the best reputation internationally, so this hurts the fsa's reputation and legitimacy, but that doesnt necessarily mean fsa wants al-qaeda to go home. its quiet complicated

9bymyside19 karma

How did you get involved in smuggling? What's your background? What're your thoughts on the United States? Thanks for doing this.

yabroud86 karma

Well once my hometown got destroyed due to the fighting, their was no school, university, or anything functioning system in the country so i had to do and find some way of making money and living. (My mother passed away peacefully years before the war and my dad fled to Jordan, i still am in contact with him).

When a country is in full on civil war, you dont find a job/housing by filling out a job application, you join a group and you must find one fast. I joined a smaller fsa group near my border town (bordering jordan) and did trips back and forth, bringing mostly supply's and people sometimes. the only reason we brought people in and out is because it was very expensive , and we desperately needed the money for food and supplies. i left as soon as i couldnt really deal with it anymore and i had a way out

My thoughts on the united states? I really dont have any hard feelings for the people of the united states, people tend to connect counties government and citizens unfairly. for example i dont have any bad feelings for the people of israel, its their government thats committing these crimes. As for the US government, i woudlnt mind if they intervened and stopped it imminently, regardless of which side they support. at this point it has gotten way to out of had for their to be any real winners. the citizens are the biggest losers.

credy17 karma

من اين انت؟ شو بلادك؟

Would you say that the majority of funding you receive to procure arms comes from private donations or direct government contributions? Could you give a rough regional breakdown of your donors and your fighters?

yabroud25 karma

أنا من سوريا, لا أستطيع أن اقول من أي مدينة لأسباب أمنية Honestly I do not know much about funding, as I said before I'm at the bottom of the food chain, I just do what I'm told.

Brown_brown3 karma

I have heard of a lot of weapons coming from wealthy lebanese backers, is there any truth to that? I imagine a lot of your work is on a need to know basis.

yabroud4 karma

Never heard of something like that before.

ThePusherRobot12 karma

First off I would like to say, thank you. Not only for what you do, but for taking the time out of your day to do an AMA. Now, for my question, do you ever keep ties with those you help or do you usually never see them again?

yabroud51 karma

Like i said below, i deleted my facebook and almost all connections i have with syria right after this summer due to it being to depressing logging on and seeing another friend or relative that was killed in the war (most of which are a part of any group and just want to live in peace). I usually never see these people again, i didnt smuggle people too often, but the times i did, it was mostly people who had relatives and family in syria that they have lost all contact with due to the war, so they are going there to hope to find them. Or they are refuges who fled syria and cant come back due to fear of being killed/detained at the border for fleeing.

To be honest I used to care a lot in the beginning about the people trying to search for loved ones, id try and give them tips on how to get to the city they want to and all the cites and places they should go around due to the fighting, but near the end it got too stressful care for everything and ever heartbreaking story i hear. their was just TOO much pain and death, and i would not be able to function properly if i thought about all of it or cared for all of it.

Supa_Koopa11 karma

Thanks for doing this. /r/iama is so boring now with the stupid celebrity posts and other drivel.

This is the first interesting ama I've seen in a year.

What do you guys think of jews?

yabroud24 karma

We have nothing against Jews, Zionists are our enemies but not Jews.

Saratonen4 karma

Do you believe that Jews have a right to self determination and to determine their own futures? Do you believe Jews are a natural and native part of the region and if so how do you reconcile that the Jews of Syria have all left? Why do you think they left?

yabroud6 karma

"Do you believe that Jews have a right to self determination and to determine their own futures?"

Determining your own future is a human right, so yes of course i believe they should. these are the same rights the my brothers are fighting for, so me saying no for jews or anyone else would make me a hypocrite. i DO believe they are a natural and native part of the region, as they were all living peacefully with arabs for thousands of years. i do not believe israel is a natural place though. i am guessing jews left syria because they would rather live in israel, a true jewish state.

TheTurdwrangler11 karma

Are you a Canadian citizen? If so why are you risking your life when there are many stable and well paying jobs in Canada?

yabroud64 karma

I am not canadian and I stopped doing this at the end of last summer. Once i got the canadian passport i had renewed i fled to canada without telling anyone. i was expecting to be detained at the airport and i was just going to ask for refuge/asylum status, but they allowed me in with the passport. (btw, there is no canadian embassy in syria. closed about a year and a half ago, so the passport is obviously not real).

yabroud45 karma

the reason i stopped doing this was because i was essentially at the bottom of the food chain. If anything where to go wrong, i would be the first to find out. i had one of the most dangerous jobs, and i could easily be replaced if something went wrong.

dontbanmeho15 karma

Wow so you're allowed in with a fake passport? I thought our passports were pretty high tech and not able to be copied. Anyway, I'm glad you're here, welcome to Canada, I hope this country serves you well as do you. But probably not a good idea posting about it, if I were you.

yabroud30 karma

A copy would not allow you through an airport, you would need a legitimate one that was issued by an issuing office, and put into the system. its fake in the sense that, it shouldnt have been made and the person technically doesnt exist, but real in every other aspect.

ChuckNorrisAteMySock10 karma

What's the most danger you've ever been in while smuggling?

yabroud30 karma

id say just being in another country with illegal documents/people/cash is very dangerous. if i got caught and was questioned by authorities about who i work for and what i do, no matter what i say, they wouldnt believe me and just have me killed since that would be much easier than trying to verify everything

elresponsable7 karma

Your life in is danger even if you were caught in other countries like Iraq, Turkey, or Egypt? Authorities of those countries would have had you killed? Also thank you very much for the AMA!

yabroud37 karma

Absolutely, either that or if they were to go the long route. i would beg to be detained and kept in jail in their county if i got caught, but they wouldnt keep me, they would send me back to syria and i would be killed there because im a 'traitor'. so death either way

Artifexthecraftsman9 karma

Will you go back to live in Syria if the country stabilizes again?

yabroud20 karma

Of course I would like to go back once it stabilizes, but i am not sure how i would contact friends and relatives since a lot would be no longer their or dead. but non the less i would like to visit once everything settles down, not live their though.

fkthemangobk2theland9 karma

Hi, Welcome to Canada. I won't ask where you are but there are SUPER white parts of Canada and I often wonder if Canadians are as "nice" as we are supposed to be. How has living here been for you?

yabroud24 karma

I'm in a fairly divers part of canada, and yes everyone is pleasant, but the cold seems to put me in a bad mood sometime. i did finally get a health care which is great, i had no idea i could get one without paying until the family im staying with helped me with the paper work. canada has been nice, things are quiet expensive though, but life seems extremely laid back, which is a really nice change

skidd9 karma

Is it true the so called FSA fighters sent it by the Saudis were convicts given a second chance by Govt. to work for them in return for their freedom ?

Is there an end in sight and in whose favor is it tilting ?

What are Saudis getting out of all this ?

yabroud24 karma

Their are a lot of fake FSA fighters who are actually saudi Al Qaeda members who are fighting against assad. much of the Al Qaeda funding comes from SA. this is a fact. the 2 theory's are that SA is sending 'help' because they want to see the country destabilize even more, or that SA is legitimately and that Assad is killing syrians and wants to send help, since most of syrias population is Sunni-muslim, just like in SA.

lostpatrol9 karma

So there is no theory that says SA wants to build a gas/oil pipe across Syria and is using this war to increase their influence in the region?

No theory that sees the war as a proxy war between SA and Iran?

yabroud13 karma

The only oil related theory I know of is the Israeli US pipeline one. Syria has a lot of natural oil and wanted to build it's own pipeline for middle eastern counties to sell directly to Europe and Asia. If they did this, the Middle East wouldn't have to use Israelis owned piplelines, the only one that leads out of that region.

If Syria had it's own and middle eastern countries started using it (which they would) instead of Israel's , the US and Israel loose a lot of money , and oil may not be traded in US dollars anymore. So they are doing their best to de-stabilize the region , or any country that starts getting ideas of a pipeline . This happened to Libya.

wanttobeacop8 karma

So are you a Syrian citizen? Also, are you Muslim or Christian?

yabroud55 karma

Yes i am syrian but i dont identify myself as syrian if asked. I was raised muslim but have lost most of my faith now

t0st08 karma

I was born in California and I'm 22 years old now. My dad was born in Syria and lived there for a long time, even serving time in the military. He tells me about how the neighborhood he grew up in is almost leveled. Family and friends are being kidnapped and held for ransom. My dad hasn't been to Syria in a while but I can tell it is weighing down on him. It's all just so crazy..

yabroud11 karma

It's really unreal the amount of devastation this has caused . i have a hard time believing it sometimes even if im looking right at it

PatsBad8 karma

With the option to leave Syria for good, what are your personal reasons for staying? Rather blunt way of putting it for such a sensitive question, but not knowing the strength of nationality in Syria has me puzzled. I know many people would jump on the chance to jump on the chance to get their families out of an area of civil unrest (speculation). Thanks for doing this AMA, finally one I'm not late for.

yabroud26 karma

Syrians are very proud of their country, and passive people you would never expect to be fighting in a war, stood up and fought because they did not want to see the country they love get destroyed. Yes some people flee and that is totally understandable, but ive met people who have had the chance to leave, stay telling me 'this is my country, im going to die here'. ive also met syrian students studying abroad that have dropped school and come BACK to syria to be with family who cant go overseas.

it really depends on if you have family/children to look after and how mentally strong you are. i was proud of my country and stayed for about 2.5 years, until i couldnt take the stress anymore so i fled

GuyWithLotOfFridges7 karma

Browsing through the comments here by Syrians, I'm surprised on how well your English is.

yabroud12 karma

I went to a private school when I was young, we had a very strong English curriculum.

Brad_Wesley7 karma

Who pays for the weapons?

yabroud30 karma

For al qaedas weapons, the saudi arabian government funds them. for the FSA, the most cities we gain control of, the more ammunition and weapons we acquire. usually taking over the syrian armys strong holds and raids on their neighborhoods gets us the most weapons.

magician86 karma

Ever been in a really scary situation where you weren't sure you were going to survive?

yabroud47 karma

Well in the beginning when i was still without a group shortly after my hometown got destroyed i didnt have any income and banks pretty much didnt exist anymore, so i was really afraid i was going to starve and or have to sleep outside or something. after about 2 days of sleeping in abandoned homes and eating what i could find ,i met a few people in similar situations with me heading to a border town that was still somewhat functioning so i followed. i was always in some sort of danger i guess, but not having food and a home and not knowing where you are going is a really empty feeling.

fliptonic6 karma

Just how easy is it to get a high quality(indistinguishable) passport? What's the cost?

yabroud24 karma

Well it depends on which kind you want, high quality passports that will get you in an around bordering countries will cost you a couple hundred dollars, but a passport that is actually registered and active, one that was put in the system by someone at an issuing office will cost you thousands, and you have to know the right people. these ones are legitimate though, and you are essentially a citizen of that country.

fliptonic3 karma

So you knew people that could get you those passports?

I know little about travel, since I've never left where I was born. Would they be able to stamp those arrival and departure stamps people typically do? It would be strange for you be to arriving home with no sign of ever having left on the passport.

Oh and remove the zero at the end of your last link so that it can funtion properly in RES.

It says, ".jpg0" not ".jpg"

yabroud12 karma

It would not be strange because i may have 'lost' my passport abroad and needed a brand new one, causing me to have no stamps or prior history. this happens in real life all the time. also, the only screening they do is only that your passport is legitimate, and that it is following a linear path. for example, if you're entering canada, but it says your passport indicates you're already in canada, a problem would arise. if they feel anything is out of line though they can go further into it though and may find out, but the initial check they do is just for this.

pipechang2 karma

these ones are legitimate though, and you are essentially a citizen of that country.

Most people already pay thousands to become citizens so I'm not sure how this market isn't bigger.

yabroud22 karma

It is a much bigger market than you think it is

BehzBrannigan6 karma

Let's assume that the FSA win the "war", what will happen to the Shia alewite community?

Every video I have watched concerning the Syrian war from the perspective of the FSA, I have heard rebels say that they are going to kill the alewites.

yabroud19 karma

At the beginning everybody used to say that we will all live in peace after we get rid of Assad, Sunni Shia Alawite Christians... But we all know that this is not possible anymore, with all the bloodshed, the majority sunnis will not live with shia and alawites anymore, it's not gonna end well for them. If you ask who's fault it is I would say the regime, for making this war a sectarian war.

BehzBrannigan2 karma

What about Christians? Will Sunnis live with them?

yabroud7 karma

Yes.

lotusbloom746 karma

What is your prediction as to the end of the conflict in Syria, given that you have been in close contact with people actually fighting?

yabroud15 karma

Well the fighters only want one thing, and they would rather die than back down on their word, especially with the number or friends and family they have already lost to the cause. I'm guessing that assad will eventually back down when he has no options left, and their will be an 'election' (with no change to the constitution) and a new leader will be in place. i dont really see an outcome where even 50% of the people would be happy with.

thebluenite5 karma

Do you know anything about douma? My family was killed there and we had tons of mixed responses as to who did what.

yabroud5 karma

Yes, I smuggled weapon to Douma once, it's currently controllers by the rebels. Lots of massacres by the regime were in Douma.

Pakosb125 karma

Was there ever a time when you feared for your life? What is the most dangerous situation that you have ended up in?

yabroud14 karma

The most dangerous situation I would say was when I got stuck in the middle of the gunfire between the FSA and the Syrian army once, and the regime planes started shelling the area, the building right next to mine was hit, mortars hit my building and bullets fired through the windows. I had to hide for 5 hours until the fighting was over. It was the scariest moment of my life.

nekotripp5 karma

Do you think that the FSA will ally with the YPG in the fight against Assad? That would possibly bring Israeli assistance to your cause.

yabroud4 karma

No.

lokhagos5 karma

What is the effect of radical islamists on the rebel movement? Is it beneficial or does it hurt your cause?

yabroud17 karma

I would say that those two issues are closely related in syria, as like in a country like egypt and the muslim brotherhood. Radical islamists use islam to try and gain more power and control of the people and country by using scare tactics or by trying to bring the quran and incorrect interpretations of the Quran into laws. something which should never be done, you cannot have a true free state if you have elements of the quran in your constitutions. A lot of times the people in these radical movements actually believe what they are being told, but the ones at the top know exactly what they're doing and exactly what they want out of it.

I would say it greatly hurts the movement, the people fighting want freedom and to live in a free state, the radical islamists want a more controlled state with fewer freedoms and more laws based off of flimsy interpretations of the quran (even accurate interpretations of the quran should not be a part of a country's laws)

Mr_Monster5 karma

Have you smuggled any KFC into the country? Rebels gotta have their fried chicken.

yabroud7 karma

are you Egyptian? I'm guessing you heard of the KFC from egypt being smuggled into gaza (yes, thats a thing, and yes, their is a market for it, look it up).

monieshot4 karma

What do you make of the graphic videos of the rebels doing horrific things ie...heart eater?

yabroud19 karma

Terrible, but you have to remember that these people have lost everything. Some of the rebels have lost all their family, their siblings, parents, wives, children... all killed by the regime. So when they get hold of a regime soldier they cannot control their actions. I think I would do the same if I was in their feet.

parsimonious_instead4 karma

OK... which weapon do the rebels prefer? AKM/AK-47 (7.62x39) or AK-74 (5.45x39?)

yabroud8 karma

AKM/AK-47 (7.62x39)

soylentblueissmurfs4 karma

When did you realize the conflict would be as long as it has been? Do you think splitting the country up will be a viable way to peace? Also what is the most difficult thing you've smuggled?

yabroud17 karma

Well when we started seeing Saudis in our country and hearing about it on an international level, we knew it was going to be big. I do not think splitting up the country would be a good idea at all.

I would have to say anytime i smuggle ammunition i am putting myself at the highest risk. if i get caught with fake passports, people, or anything else, i can try and explain my way out of the situation (oh, shes a family friend and im trying to bring her back home/out of the country to safety).

However if im caught with ammunition, it is imminently clear that im a part of some group and providing them with weapons. they wouldnt really care for an explanation and i would be detained and most probably killed for this.

MeisterSchlampe2 karma

When did you first hear about Saudis involvement and when did you see your first evidence of it?

yabroud6 karma

In 2011, right when assad and the state police started killing masses of people and opposing political parties. they sent in al -qaeda troops , funded by SA.

laith-the-arab4 karma

سلام، انت في سوريا الآن؟

Salam, are you in Syria now? How do you have net? If you could PM me I'd really appreciate it.

Anyhow I pray for you guys every day, god bless the FSA. Keep up your good work, bashar needs to go. Please stay safe and continue to do your work.

yabroud4 karma

أنا لست في سوريا الان

Bobspeeds4 karma

How do you feel about the offer of Assad to all defector, which is that they can still come back?

If you were still in syria, would you have taken the offer?

yabroud10 karma

No I would not, not under his rule. and i have never heard of this offer and i know of people who tried returning and have been detained.

razvan6164 karma

Don't you feel like you have failed? Your country is falling into chaos. What does freedom mean to you? Why is Assad's regime worse than the islamist rule some of the rebels have established?

yabroud16 karma

I do feel like I have failed my country yes. Freedom means to me to live in peace in my country and have the freedom to choose my opinions and beliefs, just like in Canada. Assad's regime and the Islamic extremists rule are both terrible, I wouldn't say one is worse than another.

blandefeld174 karma

What role do you think the Internet has played in the Syrian uprisings?

yabroud15 karma

It has played a great role, at the beginning of the revolution all the protests were coordinated on FB and other social media networks, all the activists communicated through the internet because phones were monitored.

Also, people are able to communicate safely though messaging applications like jabber(i used this one) or serval mesh and ostel for safe calling. people also can go on liveleak and type in their hometowns name to see how its doing and get a live, ground view of what its like.

it has hurt the uneducated though, mainly older people (40+) who do not know how to use the internet safely and communicate safely though. this puts them at risk and in danger of being being called a traitor or conspirator .

Un7ouch3d3 karma

What is a list of the most valuable things you learned?

What I mean by this question is just memorable life experiences that you've learned that you can share with people who may never experience what you did.

yabroud28 karma

I would have to say that deep down, the vast majority of humans are generally kind loving people who are willing to go out of their way to help you even if they have no idea who you are. Although it's a cival war right now, their are so many untold stories of great compassion (mostly at the hight of the war). men watching over and taking in children that aren't theirs, and people giving strangers half of the food they have left. although life has returned to somewhat normal in some cities, its still far from over

BadBannana3 karma

What's your reaction to members of extremist groups joining the FSA?

yabroud13 karma

I hated them, I just want them all to leave my country.

Fredarius3 karma

As a Canadian I am wondering how easy it was to forge a Canadian passport?

yabroud7 karma

Not very easy.

SpawnDonkey3 karma

I just want to take a moment and say thank you for what you are doing and taking time out of the day to answer questions. Do you know/think if there really were any chemical attacks? The media here in America is absolutely terrible on reporting stuff like this and the government claims they have evidence when they don't tell anyone.

yabroud22 karma

I have friends who are from that area, in the suburbs of Damascus. one of the neighborhoods was named Zamalka.

their WERE chemical attacks and it was 100% the assad regime. i had friends in that area during that time tell me this, friends not affiliated to any groups. it was in an fsa controlled area and all these victims were members and family members of people affiliated with the fsa. why on earth would the fsa attack themselves and their own strong hold?

they used ground to ground missiles and assad is the only one with those exact chemical weapons, the same exact weapons that the UN is planing on making sure they destroy. it was so sicking to see that happen. it would have more believable if they did this to one of their own cities, but they would never do that to their own. even doing it to another though is disgusting.

Japhy9073 karma

Mentioned above death to --- being a expression of frustration in Arab cultures can you expand on this more... Seems like a cultural misunderstanding

yabroud12 karma

sure, im trying think of the english equivalent for that phrase but my best guess would be 'darn' or 'dang'. its just a phrase we use to express frustration in something. "darn car not starting up, darn snow, darn prices". im not sure if i can explain it any better than that, i hope you understand a bit better!

sapolism2 karma

Have you had any exposure to the source of the FSA's arms, or had any clues?

yabroud8 karma

Well al qaeda (whos fighting along side the the FSA for reasons no one knows for sure yet and are being funded by saudi arabia) is known to sell and share arms with the FSA

DJ_Wristy2 karma

You said your fake Canadian passport was accepted when entering Canada, how then did you go about seeking asylum and starting your life in Canada? Was there any trouble seeking asylum because you had previously served in the FSA?

Thanks very much for your time, such an interesting topic to receive a first hand account of.

yabroud14 karma

I did not seek asylum or refuge status in canada since my passport was accepted and canadian citizens do not seek asylum in their own counties. the hardest thing was getting situated and finding the nearest Muslim community to be a part of so i could be taken in

narwhalsare_unicorns2 karma

How are the Turkish officials stand with Syrians using Turkey as a supply route? Are the tunnels start in Turkish side of the border and go to Syrian side? Turkey probably turns a blind eye and actively gives arms to FSA but how open are they about it? I am wondering about the Turks stance on this can you give any info?

yabroud7 karma

Most of my activity was on the Jordanian border so I don't have too much info about the Turks. But yes they do turn a blind eye to arms going into Syria. They do not fund anybody or send weapons, they just make it easier to get weapons into Syria.

klous992 karma

Assuming that if the FSA won the war, a true democracy would reign, how would you feel about the islamist factions winning the war?

That is to say, Syria turning into more or less a theocracy and a puppet of Saudi Arabia.

Would you return to live there?

yabroud5 karma

I would hope they try and separate the state and religion as much as possible if a revolution occurred successfully, that would be the only way for a true free state, the one we are fighting for.

i would return , but not to live their.

Havetraveled2 karma

Have you noticed any of the financial/humanitarian aid in Syria? Do you feel like what these organizations are doing is affecting people in Syria in a good way?

yabroud5 karma

I never had anything to do with humanitarian aid, but I used to see people from these organizations at the borders sometime. I realized that some of these groups sometimes do not distribute the aid fairly, let's say a guy is from Homs, he would focus on Homs and leave other cities alone...

fucreddit2 karma

Who cuts more heads off of civilians over there? Assad's men or the FSA allies? Where do you draw the line between Assadist and just some citizen trying to survive?

yabroud8 karma

That is the syrian army. they dress up as fsa rebels and kill children and family members of fsa rebels. they try to make it look like its fsa rebels killing civilians, when in fact its the state army doing it. they take videos of it, and it gets uploaded online and gets put on tv.

do you think the fsa would ever do something like that?? kill civilians, then record it?? then put it up online and have it put on tv?? why would we do that? that would cause us to be disliked by the syrian people. we are for the syrian people, we ARE the syrian people, no one would ever do something that stupid and upload it to try to make our group look that bad. no ones that dumb. in ALL of those videos they always give a speech in the beginning if you havent noticed, its always something like "WE, THE FSA ARMY, IN THE NAME OF GOD...somethingsomethingsomething" why on earth would we do and say things like that? if you just sit and think about it, it very clear that it is just a ploy by the assad regime to make us look like terrorists to the outside world, when in fact they are the terrorists.

fucreddit2 karma

So you are saying the FSA or it's allies have never cut the throats of civilians? Do they execute civilians who are considered Assadists in any other ways?

You know people who don't pick up arms against you but would rather see Assad in power than some of the Muslim radicals who seem to be invading the country.

That's another question I have. Assad was pretty much a secular regime are the FSA going to be that way or will the country become a Theocracy?

yabroud3 karma

civilians? never. we are fighting the syrian and Iranian army. not women and children.

Was the situation in syria under assads rule in 2009 better than it is now? of course. but when the number of protests around the country started to increase, and then people started being jailed and killed for voicing their opinions..attitudes about assad, and realizations about how 'free' we actually were changed.

I honestly do not know what will happen if the FSA succeed. that route is the one with the most questions. its pretty easy to predict what would happen if he won the war, or even if he stepped down and had an "election". but the fsa gaining total control would be a very unique situation. im guessing it will be a situation similar to when Hamas gained control of Gaza from israel and fatah a few years back. but i hope they do not get as radical as hamas has gotten.

tefra2 karma

Hello OP, thanks for AMA, very interesting. Congratulations on escaping the war. Have you smuggled in any wanna-be combatants/mercenaries? Any people from russian south, chechens, for example? How many foreigners have you seen fighting alongside the FSA?

yabroud5 karma

I have smuggled Chechan, Arabs, Pakistanis, Afghanis, Europeans, Americans. I have seen people from almost every race fighting in Syria. Even people from South-Eastern Asia.

tefra2 karma

I guess Chechan, Arabs, Pakistanis, Afghanis are fighting for the religious cause and Europeans and Americans are mainly private military contractors? By the way, are there chechen fighters plenty? Sorry for being persistent, this is a sensitive question for me since I'm russian.

yabroud5 karma

The Europeans and Americans are also fighting for religious reasons (mainly Muslim converts). The chechan are not plenty, I would say around 500-1000 chechan fighter in Syria.

Throwawayqw1231 karma

Is the attitude over in those countries simply a "You are different, thus, death to you for not being us."?

yabroud5 karma

What do you mean different? Like different religion, nationality ? Can you be more specific? I can go to most arab counties with no fear of anything, regardless of me being sunni shia or christian. The only real problem would arise is if you go to an arab country (not all but a lot) with an israeli stamp in you passport. some places could get you killed for this. thats why they stopped stamping passports and they give you a small ID card that you can hide away if planning on going to arab countries (you can find the ID in the first pic i posted, the blue and white one)

Throwawayqw123-4 karma

Oh, so it's more "You are israel or allied to israel, thus death to you."

yabroud9 karma

Not necessarily again. I have the feeling you have small/stereotypical understanding of the middle east,,

yabroud7 karma

also, "death to ____" doesn't mean they want that person or thing dead. it's just an expression of frustration in arabic. "death to traffic, death to commercials, death to slow drivers". It's literally just an expression of frustration.

HC231 karma

What kind of weapons do you usually smuggle and what is the, in your opinion the most devastating thing you've brought over.

yabroud2 karma

I usually only dealt with ammunition if was was dealing with weapons, and the most dangerous would probably be the rounds for the anti-tank gunner you see in the photo i posted

downboat-ahoy-2 karma

How many Christians have you seen killed? I know the FSA isn't the worst about this, but some are still involved from what I've heard.

yabroud4 karma

christians really dont have much to do with the issues in syria, so 0

YallaBB-3 karma

Not involved but aren't they being targeted? What about the kidnappings of the two bishops, and the nuns from Maaloula?

yabroud12 karma

Those are small individual cases.

YallaBB-5 karma

And by individual I guess you mean 14 individuals, not counting the clergy who have been killed by sniper fire or beheaded?

yabroud15 karma

well, in a war where well over 100,000 have been killed, 100,000 missing, almost 200,000 displaced, i would say 14 individuals is small..

promethazine_fiend-7 karma

As an American who is sympathetic to your cause, I can only wish your people and comrades the best. However, if I were to ever feel adventurous and wish to join the FSA cause like how an UCLA student joined the Libyan rebels a couple years ago, what are some recommended ways and who should I meet to get started?

yabroud2 karma

I would NOT recommend this, unless you are a reporter or some sort of journalist backed up by an organization, i would not recommend traveling there. even though the main cities are up and running, if you where to run into any trouble, most counties embassys are closed and your options would be very limited. also assuming you dont know anyone there that would make things much harder for you

[deleted]-17 karma

[deleted]

flavourenhancer6212 karma

Could you explain to someone ignorant of the situation as to why you want them dead?

Or could Syrian smuggler explain this?

yabroud6 karma

I'm not sure what this person is angry about, I'm guessing that the lies being spread around that we're not real Syrians or that we are terrorists is working. We're not, the true FSA want freedom, direct democracy and representation. The "Syrians" you see in the news that say they are FSA are not FSA or syrians, they are Saudis sent by their government to make our movement look less legitimate and give it a bad name internationally. You can tell simply by the way they speak arabic where they are from.

CaptainPain-10 karma

he is partially responsible for perpetual conflict. some might even go as far as to say hes aiding terrorists. and they wouldn't be wrong. also snackbar

yabroud5 karma

"Aiding terrorists". If you're from canada or the united states, you send billions of dollars a year to Israel. Now let me make this clear, i have nothing bad to say about the Israeli people, and their culture and beautiful country, but its what the Zionist at the top are doing that's whats sickening. They way they are dehumanizing the Palestinians.

Also the US openly admits to sending aid to the terrorist organization fatah, back when they were running up against hamas in elections in gaza. Funded them with weapons and money. Tearing the region apart even more.