Assad’s Newest Ally: Venezuelan Congressman Goes to Syria to Fight Rebels, the U.S.

World

“Syria needs full support against these criminals,” wrote Venezuelan lawmaker Adel el-Zabayar in a letter to his country’s National Assembly this week. He was requesting indefinite leave from office in order to fight alongside the Syrian army, having arrived in the country two weeks ago to visit his ill mother. With the upcoming threat of military attack by the US, he has decided to stick around and fight. “Without doubt, I’ll have a weapon,” he told TIME by telephone early on Friday morning local time from a site he said was around 50 miles south of Damascus near the city of Sweida. “I’m on the battlefield now.” Zabayar has no formal weapons training and is currently carrying out more administrative tasks on the battlefield, he says, alongside government fighters.

The 49-year-old congressman, who is of Syrian descent though was born in Venezuela’s central city of Ciudad Bolívar, seems to have…

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