The Tale of «The Friends of Saidnaya»: The Strongest Three Men in Online Casinos


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In a rare group picture, the smiles adorn the faces of the strongest three men in Syria. They are standing next to each other after being released from the Saidnaya Prison. In this picture are Zahran Alloush , the leader of Liwa al-Islam (Brigade of Islam) who later became chief of Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam); next to him stands Hassan Abboud (nicknamed Abu Abdullah Al-Hamwi), the head of the Ahrar al-Sham (the Free Men of the Levant) Movement; and Issa al-Sheikh, the leader of the Suqour al-Islam (Falcons of Islam) Brigade. After spending together several years in prison following diverse events –around 2004– because of their religious activity, the three friends were (together with Abu Mohammad al-Fateh al-Jolani, the emir of al-Nusra Front) released from Saidnaya prison in the middle of 2011, under presidential amnesty (dated 31 May) upon the start of the Syrian Revolution. This was one of the «generosities» of the president that was eager to show his concern for his people’s thirst for change. This amnesty was accompanied with mammoth effort on the part of his media machine, which spawned blunt lies and tall tales about the revolution which convince no one, not even those siding with the regime, and which everyone explains as part of the «media war». However, the intention of this media war was to root the idea that the Syrian revolution was sectarian, and that its demands are nothing more than Islamic, and that the change being demanded only needed a quick response, such as the opening of a religious TV channel (Nur al-Sham), and retracting on the decision not to employ women with niqab in the educational sector, as well as to cancel the license for the casino being built on the airport road, despite its exuberant cost… and finally the release of the Islamists through a presidential amnesty.

In contrast, the regime was adamant not to attend to the other political prisoners in Saidnaya prison, those sentenced under the article 306 in the Syrian penal law (which has to do with membership in groups that were founded to change the system of government) or those sentenced for contacting foreign nations, like the girl Tal al-Malouhi who was sentenced a few months before the revolution. Additionally, the regime provocatively tarried on revising political procedures that have to do with «emergency law» and «amending the constitution» and the «eighth article» (concerning the leadership of Baath Party over state and society), scorning and ignoring them, and starting up hundreds of committees stalled through bureaucratic protocols that were almost funny. It was as if he was even more careful than his opponents to show that all of those changes were of face value, no more than ink and paper. The problem is not there, the problem is with the Islamists, this is what I –the regime– want you to understand, and procedures like closing down the casino touch the heart of the crisis a lot more than sabotaging the entire constitution!

A few weeks before the release of «the friends of Saidanya» from prison, the city of Daraa was besieged, and the largest demonstration to date in Homs was dismantled in a monstrous way by the regime forces. The rebellious villages and towns were provoked by all sorts of oppressive means, with an intentional facilitation of weapon smuggling across the borders. A week after they were released, the regime got what it wanted, and got the massacre of Jisr Al-Shoghur, where 120 of security forces were killed, according to the official tale, in the first militarized revolutionary operation that was organized and planned, and that of course receives an Islamic tint, eased by the historical status of the area where the massacre took place.

It did not take long after they were released that the three friends founded the three largest opposition military factions in Syria. Suqour al-Sham was announced on 25 November 2011, and Liwa al-Islam in March 2012, and Ahrar al-Sham began operations on 25 July 2012, while their fourth friend, al-Jolani, returned from a sojourn in Iraq during the same period to start by al-Nasra Front.

The estimates about the exact number of fighters that are under the «friends of Saidnaya» are not clear, however all the estimates agree that they lead the largest number of the militarized opposition in Syria. While Zahran Alloush is the head of the Jaysh al-Islam that is the outcome of the unification of 43 military factions and includes around 30,000 fighters, Ahrar al-Sham Movement is believed to be the largest brigade in Syria, with 18,000 fighters, and Suqour al-Sham are around 9,000 fighters. Al-Nusra seems to be the smallest of these groups in terms of numbers, but is equally effective in discipline, arms, and military abilities. This means that the friends who were in Saidnaya together lead around 60% of the opposition fighters in Syria today.

According to the above facts, we can propose a conspiracy theory that looks like what some might believe about ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), the relatively new on the military map of Syria: that this group is infiltrated to a large degree by the regime, and that many of its fighters coordinate directly or indirectly with the regime, as happens with the oil fields. The parallel is possible to make, because in the tale of the friends of Saidnaya, we are reminded of the role played by the regime in facilitating the travel of fighters to Iraq and with the secretive, and sometimes public relations he had with the peddlers of Jihadi and Salafi ideologies and with the founders of al-Qaeda in the Levant.

On the other hand, we can propose another theory that turns the friends of Saidnaya into heroes, born out of the womb of injustice and the darkness of prison. Here we cannot forget that the military factions under the leadership of those friends distinguish themselves from others and are more similar to each other concerning how they enjoy a good reputation amongst civilians, for they are in general the least irksome, and the least transgressive towards private property; those groups also start up legal bodies wherever they take control in order to mediate individual and public rights; and more importantly they are known for being dedicated fighters credited with a crucial role in liberating Daraa all the way to Damascus, as well as the provinces of Idlib towards Aleppo and Raqqa. It can be said, without exaggeration, that the friends of Saidnaya played a major liberating role that allows the opposition to control today more than half of Syria. On the other hand, ISIS is busy managing the liberated lands that it occupies by constructing institutional and proselytization avenues, without any real care for the war against the regime as much as it cares for arresting revolutionary activists and starting battles with the Kurdish forces and with the Free Syrian Army. ISIS also appears to have very limited and rare contributions to the battles against the regime, most notably (and perhaps the only one) is its liberation of Minnigh Military Airport, in an operation that lasted several months and that ISIS participated in only towards the end.
Between those two theories, between those who place the friends of Saidnaya in the same category as ISIS and those who makes them heroes and brave hearts, the Syrians sway. I will choose for myself a third way that avoids conspiracy theories and the sainthood of individuals, to point out what is confirmed in all of the above: The regime pushed the revolution exactly where he wanted it to go, in a methodic and media savvy way politically, economically, and militarily. He needed to coordinate with some individuals and groups sometimes, and in most cases he ploughed the soil in such a way that we sow exactly what he himself wants. And after all that happened since the very first decree, the devil still pulls the strings that make us dance.

How We Review Real Money Gaming Sites

There’s an entire reviewing team behind our website. All of us like
gambling in online casinos for real money. We try different sites and we
gamble there. Throughout the process, we take note of all details that
affect the experience. We compare the gambling experience to the one we
got from competitive casinos. At the end, we create a review that tells
you everything you need to know before you make your first deposit.

We are not related to any online casino. Before completing a review,
we play slots and table games, and we test the mobile version of the
site. We check the licensing and security standards, so we only
recommend legit and secure casino sites that let Canadian gamblers in.

We made an effort to maintain a universal format for all reviews of casinos for real gambling. That’s important for comparative purposes.

These are the things we evaluate:

  • Welcome and no-deposit bonuses

Online casinos will match your first deposit with free cash and free spins. You can use the cash for wagering on any game.

Some will even give you a small no deposit bonus just to try their games and see if you like them.

  • Security

When you share your payment information online, you can’t help but wonder: is it safe?
We check the security standards of each casino before making the first
deposit. We include information about the safety in our reviews.

  • Banking

Different online casinos have different banking methods. Most will
allow you to play with CAD, but some will convert the currency and
you’ll lose something in that process. In addition, the casinos have
their own policies about the cards, e-wallets, and bank wire methods
they accept for depositing and withdrawing money.

Where do you get the chance to win a lot of money?

In their attempts to keep you playing to win real money at online
casino sites, they will offer ongoing deposit matches and loyalty

The government of Canada doesn’t grant licenses for online gambling.
These websites still operate legitimately, though. They usually get
their licenses from Malta, Kahnawake and Curacao authorities. We check
if the casino has a valid license to operate and we give you this
information in the review.

What if you encounter difficulties during depositing or withdrawing
money? What if you don’t know how to play a certain game? It’s important
to have access to a customer support department at all times.

Microgaming, NetEnt, Evolution Gaming, and few other software
providers are the leaders in the online gaming industry. Some casinos
support a single software provider, but others give you more options.

  • Various casino games

What types of games can you play in 2019’s best real money casinos
online? How many slot games, table games, progressive jackpot games, and
live game are in casino.

How to Play at Real Money Online Casino Sites

If you never played for real money online before, you’ll appreciate the hints that follow.

Always Read Reviews First. An unbiased review is the most reliable
way to find out if the site is licensed, secure, and worth giving a

Try Playing for Free. Through the reviews, you’ll land at several
websites that look and feel well. Go through the list of games and try
few of them for free. Most online casinos allow you to play in fun mode.
When you’re ready, you’ll make a commitment to one of these sites
Read the Terms and Conditions.
This is the least enjoyable step of
the process, but it’s also necessary. Read about the banking methods,
playthrough rules for the bonus, and withdrawal rules. In an online
casino, you have to be a fair player, especially in live games. There’s
etiquette to maintain, just like in a real casino.

Stay Safe! The risk of addiction is real, especially when you can
use real money casino apps throughout the entire day and night. Impose
some daily rules and don’t bet above that limit.

Casino Games: What Can You Play Online?

Classic Slots

There’s massive competition among online casino software providers in
this category. Each strives to provide the best graphics, the greatest
choice of games, and the most fun experience of all. These sites let you
choose from hundreds of slots, so you’ll never get bored.

Table Games

To get the real feel of gambling, you’ll most likely want to enjoy blackjack, craps, baccarat, roulette, and poker.

Progressive Slots

When an online casino is highly popular, it attracts many gamblers.
All of them bet their money on slots, so the jackpots get higher and

Live Casino Games

Only the best live online casinos
let you play real dealer roulette, baccarat, blackjack, and other table
games. You’ll enter a real table, with a professional dealer behind it.
Other players will be there, too. But everyone’s privacy is preserved;
the players are anonymous.

Popular Software Providers

Who creates the best online casino games in ? The most popular games in this industry include NetEnt, Microgaming, Playtech, Dragonfish, and more.

How to Deposit and Withdraw Money at Online Gambling Sites

When you use an online casino, you’ll have to choose one of the
banking methods available. You’ll need to link your account to a card,
PayPal, or any other payment method.

  • Credit and debit cards – Visa and MasterCard are accepted in almost all online casinos.
  • E-wallets – Neteller, PayPal, Skrill, Bank Wire and other e-wallets are safer, since you’re not providing any card numbers.
  • Pre-paid cards – You can buy pre-paid vouchers to play at some casinos. This is a good way to prevent addiction.
  • Pay by phone – Few casinos allow you to charge the deposit through your phone bill.
  • Currencies – The Canadian Dollar is widely accepted across these
    websites. When you play at a Canadian casino, you don’t lose money in

Are Real Money Players Safe at Canadian Sites?

The license from an authority is the most important proof of safety.

However, we also like to see the eCOGRA stamp of approval at a
website. This is an international testing agency based in London. It’s
completely independent and it guarantees player protection.

Progressive Jackpots at Online Casinos that Accept Real Money

There are two factors that determine the progressive jackpot amount:

  • The bets placed by the players
  • The casino’s payout rate (RTP)

The highest jackpots are available at casinos that attract a lot of players and pay most of the money back.

Promo/Bonuses in Real Money Casinos

The bonus is just like real cash. You use it to place bets and win
real money with it. But there are some limitations. Many casinos will
allow you to use the bonus only on slots. Some, however, will extend its
use across the offer.

The types of bonuses include:

  • Sign-up bonus – The casino will match your first deposit with a
    bonus, but you’ll also get free cash for the following two or three
    deposits you make.
  • Loyalty and VIP rewards – You’ll get informed about these programs
    via email, so don’t forget to sign up for the mailing campaign when you
    join an online casino.
  • No-deposit bonus – Many casinos will give you a little cash upon signup, so you can test their offer.

How to Gamble for Real Money Online

There are few simple steps to take: Pros and Cons of Online Gambling for Real Money in Canada

What benefits do you get by choosing a reliable online casino for real money?

You can play the games for fun, without placing bets.
When you’re ready to wager for real, you can do that in a safe way.
The online casino is anonymous. If you want to keep these activities private, you can do it.
You can install an app on your phone or access the mobile version
through the phone’s browser. So you can play whenever you want to!

There’s one major disadvantage, though: the potential for developing
an addiction. Do not access these casinos if you’re younger than 19.
Stay in control and never bet an amount that would get you in trouble if
you lose it.

Yes; absolutely. When you access a reputable site that’s been licensed by an independent authority, you’ll be safe.

From all our reviews, we concluded that Jackpot City is our best online casino for real money games.

  1. Can I play some games for free first?

Yes; you can test the games before making your first deposit. But you can’t win real money that way.

PayPal is accepted at Canadian online casinos, as one of the safest methods for online payments. You’ll have to read a review or check the website’s banking section to see.

Jackpot City, Spin Palace, and PlayAmo are really cool. There are other great ones, too!
Can I gamble for real money on my mobile smartphone?

Yes! Almost all online casinos that we recommend offer a fully-functional mobile casino version of their site. Some also provide apps for Android and iOS devices.



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