Syrian Army Forms Suicide Unit

Suicide attacks on the rise worldwide

JERUSALEM—In what may be the first time since the Japanese kamikaze attacks of the Second World War, the army of an organized state—if Syria can still be considered such—has formed a suicide unit.

A video clip posted Dec. 30 on the Internet shows a small group of soldiers from the Syrian Army’s Mountain Battalion wearing pouches around their waists, presumably for explosives, facing the camera. All wear white headbands and masks.

“In the name of Allah, we, the commandos of the Mountain Battalion, declare from the peak of Mount Nabi Yunis the establishment of a martyrdom-seeking platoon,” declares one of them, reading from a paper. “This is our response to all the foreigners who have distorted the religion of Islam and have defiled the soil of our country.”

The reference is clearly to foreign jihadis who have joined in the civil war against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, most prominently the fighters of the Islamic State.

“The language of killing has never been taught in the land of Syria,” said the statement. “Our language is the language of defending the country and its master (presumably President Assad) against all who have sold their souls to Satan and his followers. May the Syrian flag continue to be a beacon to all the free people of the world and continue to fly over every inch of our beloved Syrian land.”

“Remember us,” the spokesman concluded, “when you celebrate victory.”

Apart from the opening reference to Allah, which can be considered pro forma in a Muslim land, the statement was clearly secular in nature, distinguishing the Damascus regime from most of the rebel groups trying to bring it down. As such, it could be considered in the regime’s interest to have the video seen in the West. At the end of the clip, the participants raised clenched fists and declared “Oh, Syria, we respond to your call,” without any religious incantation. The video was shown on MEMRI TV.

A report released Tuesday by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv said that there were 592 suicide attacks last year in the world, almost twice as many as the previous year. Some 4,400 persons died in these attacks. The Middle East saw 370 such attacks compared to 163 the year before, with Iraq being the principal venue.

Full article: Syrian Army Forms Suicide Unit (Washington Free Beacon)

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