FSA-turned-ISIS fighters tell RT they ‘fight injustice as self-defense’

Members of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), notorious for publicizing executions of innocent civilians, including at least two Western journalists, told RT they are in fact "peaceful people" fighting against injustice.

RT's Maria Finoshina visited a small Lebanese village near the Syrian border, which used to be a base for FSA (Free Syrian Army) fighters battling Bashar Assad for years, and met with several IS members.

One of them, who agreed to identify himself only by his first name, claimed to be "a soldier in the army of ISIS, the army of the Islamic State."

"Our goal is to defend our Sunni brothers who are suffering from injustice around the world especially in Lebanon and the north," Ameer told RT. He added that they have already recruited around 3,000 members and are getting ready for their fight.

Before joining IS, they fought in Syria as Free Syrian Army soldiers and later among the al-Nusra Front. They claim none of these was as powerful and successful as the Islamic State currently is. "We want to bring back our land and we will return it back. Even if all of us have to die," they assert.

RT video screenshot

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The fighters who call themselves a "sleeper cell" ready to be activated at any time, told RT that the "militias like Hezbollah in Lebanon and the houthis in Yemen…are killing our brothers in Syria."

According to them, Hezbollah implements the "foreign agenda of Iran and Russia and others."

IS members blame the Shia Islamist militant group (Hezbollah) for separating the Lebanese people, thus creating a major "sectarian and political split."

They add: "Lebanon is a mutli-sectarian country and Lebanon - before Hezbollah's intervention in the national and foreign policies and politics of the Lebanese republic - was always thought as a safe haven for others."

While they belong to an organization that the US and the alliance is bombing in Iraq and Syria, Ameer says Americans are "bombing for political goals" and just "want to have a foothold in the region and to take the oil."

"The one who fights us, we will fight him back as self defense not less and not more," they warn.

According to Ameer, IS members "don’t kill journalists and we consider them as messengers and they are innocent, maybe there are some people who pretend to be in the Islamic State and kill the journalists."

"We are peaceful people and our religion orders us for peace, it doesn't order us for violence..."

According to Amer, there's generally a very biased attitude towards Sunni Muslims: "…if someone travels outside the country, they put his name on the customs that he’s a terrorist.

"When we are back to the airports they accuse us of being terrorists and say you were being trained outside and have money," they complain.