DAMASCUS/TEHRAN -- Palestinians turned out in Damascus on Friday to mourn Ahmed Jibril, whose Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command fought the occupying regime of Israel in the 1970s and 1980s and backed Syria’s government in the ongoing foreign-backed takfiri war.
Relatives and members of factions, some armed and wearing camouflaged uniforms, joined a convoy taking his body to the city’s Al-Othman Mosque and then on to the cemetery at the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk.
“Before he died he said that during this long struggle he never sold his principles or gave up and we shouldn’t either,” Khaled Jibril, his son and the group’s director of military and security, told Reuters.
Ahmed Jibril, who died on Wednesday aged 83, founded his PFLP-GC in 1968 after splitting from the PFLP of Palestinian nationalist leader George Habash.
Jibril was long at odds with the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and his successor Mahmoud Abbas over “peace” accords with the occupying regime of Israel.
Jibril had fought alongside Syrian government troops to retake Yarmouk during Syria’s decade-long conflict.
His funeral was attended by the Iranian ambassador in Damascus, leaders of Palestinian factions in Syria and top officials from Syria’s government.
Jibril’s youngest son, Mohamed Bader, led the prayers over the coffin which was draped with the Palestinian flag.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi, in separate messages, expressed their condolences over Jibril’s demise.
In a message released on Thursday, Ayatollah Khamenei described Jibril as an “indefatigable fighter” who spent all his life fighting for his usurped homeland and oppressed nation.
“I offer my condolences on the demise of the indefatigable fighter, Mr. Ahmed Jibril, to the Palestinian people and all the fighters
and activists engaged in the fervent Palestinian struggle and all the elements of resistance in the West Asian region and to his relatives,” the Leader noted.
The Leader also asked God to bestow abundant heavenly rewards on the deceased fighter and show him forgiveness.
In his message, Raisi hailed Jibril as a courageous fighter whose demise “caused great grief and sorrow.”
“This tireless fighter did not stop trying to liberate the first Qibla of Muslims (Al-Quds) until the last moments of his life, and in this way he sacrificed his son,” he said.
“I offer my condolences to the family of the deceased, his comrades, the oppressed nation of Palestine and all the supporters of the Holy Quds, and I ask God Almighty for forgiveness and exaltation for him,” the president-elect added.
Raeisi described Jibril as “one of the true loyalists to the Palestinian cause and a true supporter of the resistance front, which remained steadfast in the storm of events.”