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Gregory Waters @GregoryPWaters
, 9 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
1/8 Short thread on Dyab “Abu Arab” Afouf, commander and founder of the Tiger Forces’ “Abu Arab Groups” from Harasta, Damascus. Here he meets with Suheil on Oct 3, 2017.
2/8 According to opposition sources, Afouf’s father was a close bodyguard of Hafez Assad but was killed when he tried to run away. Dyab Afouf was reportedly known for selling drugs & alcohol in Harasta before becoming a ‘Shabiha’ then joining TF.
3/8 But what’s really interesting is his role in negotiating the surrender of Harasta in March 2018. Abu Arab Groups (made almost entirely of Damascus fighters) were sent to Harasta frontlines as early as January 6 (when most TF units were in Idlib).
4/8 On February 19, right as the govt offensive began w/ massive indiscriminate bombing, Afouf posted the following message calling on Harasta to surrender & referring to himself as “a son of Harasta” & claims Suheil sent him to negotiate.
5/8 By the end of March, Afouf was the central player (at least publicly) in organizing the reconciliation and settlement of the opposition in Harasta. He was interviewed by Syrian TV & pics show him meeting Mil Security generals & in civilian dress organizing aid distribution.
6/8 Despite running a small (30-50 man) unit and hailing from Damascus, Afouf appears to have much more prominence than TF commanders of similar rank. Aside from meeting Suheil, he met with Hezbollah & an Iraqi Shaykh Abdullah Sheibani in Damascus.
7/8 Most surprisingly, he also met with Maj Gen Ziad Ali Salah, Rep Guard’s Deputy Commander & former/current commander of all Aleppo RG. I haven’t seen any other TF commander – or even central officer – meet w/ Ziad.

I covered Ziad’s rise to power here
8/8 Unclear the origin & sectarian composition of Abu Arab Groups. Official media doesn’t appear on Facebook until January 2018, but the first post linking Afouf to the Tiger Forces appears in January 2017. Seems new, small, but an important mediator for ex-opp in Damascus.
See this thread for other interesting facts about Republican Guard leaders and their career histories – all part of major projects in the works.
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