Shiite Iraqi families sent to Syria to change its demographics

Shiite Iraqi families sent to Syria to change its demographics

Shiite Iraqi families are being sent to the newly evacuated areas in Syria, like Darayya, to change the demographics in the country, according to sources close to the activities of the Iranian-backed armed militias in Syria.

“The most important plan currently conducted by the armed militias, is to bring Iraqi families mostly coming from the southern Shi’ite-majority provinces, and place them in several Syrian areas, particularly in Daraya, Maadamiyat al-Sham and al-Midan,” the source said, adding that around 300 Iraqi families have already arrived to Syria with an aim to produce a demographic change.

The source said the new plan is conducted in coordination with the Syrian regime.

Speaking with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper in London by telephone, the source, who lives in Beirut, said that Harakat al-Nujaba is the movement responsible for sending those Iraqi families by collaborating with other parties and factions in Syria.

He said Harakat al-Nujaba is headed by Akram al-Kaabi, a close ally to Iran and who has a direct relationship with Iranian Supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

“Each family arriving to Syria receives a salary of $2,000 and a residence,” the source said.

Al-Kaabi has around 5,000 fighters in Syria and therefore his movement is the largest Iraqi faction supported by Iran.

The source said Al-Kaabi and his movement are considered by Iranians as the number one faction because of their loyalty to Wilayat al-Faqih.

He added: “Harakat al-Nujaba is now considered as the most important movement in Syria following ‘Hezbollah’ because it has a large number of fighters in areas located West Aleppo.”

The source added that the majority of al-Nujaba fighters were trained in Iran after separating from the leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Qais Khazali, who had seceded from the Sadrist Movement in 2007.

The source said that Iranians are now giving more attention to al-Kaabi’s movement at the expense of Khazali, adding that al-Nujaba Movement is currently present in several important Iraqi intelligence and national security institutions.

The source said: “Al-Kaabi had lately revealed his capacities in fighting whereas Khazali has started to increase his demands inside Iraq, a development that did not please Iranians.”

Ali Akbar Velayati, an international adviser to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution said last week after meeting with al-Kaabi in Iran that “the government of the Islamic Republic [of Iran] will do nothing in Iraq without the permission of the country’s government.”

Velayati said Harakat al-Nujaba had benefited from the aid offered by Iran to the Iraqi people to fight against the U.S. occupation.