Jaysh al-Islam (Arabic: جيش الإسلام, meaning Army of Islam), formerly known as Liwa al-Islam or the Brigade of Islam, is a merger of many rebel groups involved in the Syrian Civil War. It operates chiefly in the Damascus neighborhoods of Douma and Eastern Ghouta. The group is part of the Islamic Front. Liwa al-Islam was the largest rebel faction located in Damascus. Saudi Arabia is preparing to give the group millions of dollars to "arm and train" the fighters in Jaysh al-Islam. Instructors from Pakistan will reportedly be used to help train the group. The organization has rejected membership of the Free Syrian Army. It has been critical of Hamas, accusing Khaled Mashal of having Iranian links.
Liwa al-Islam was established by Zahran Alloush, the son of Saudi-based religious scholar Abdullah Mohammed Alloush, after Syrian authorities released him from prison in mid-2011 where he had been serving time for his Salafist activism. The group claimed responsibility for carrying out the July 2012 Damascus bombing that killed Defense Minister Dawoud Rajiha, Deputy Defense Minister Asef Shawkat, and Assistant Vice President Hassan Turkmani. Liwa al-Islam was a driving force behind actions in the Damascus region. It cooperated and conducted joint operations with the Al-Nusra Front.
The group's creation was negotiated and spearheaded by Saudi Arabia, who believed that the Al-Nusra Front was gaining too much strength. The major rebel group involved is Jaysh al-Islam. The head of the organization is Zahran Aloush, the head of Jaysh al-Islam. The merger was completed on 29 September 2013. The coalition has criticized the Syrian National Coalition, stating that the group should be led by those who are fighting in Syria. The groups founding declaration mentioned that some 43 rebel factions were merging, however 38 of these groups were already members of, or affiliated with, the Liwa al Islam group. As of November 2013, 60 groups have merged into Jaysh al-Islam, though more than 175 groups overall have expressed a desire to merge into the organization.
Capture of sophisticated equipment
On 6 October 2012, Liwa al-Islam captured two 9K33 Osa SAM systems in Eastern Ghouta with at least 12 missiles total. A video was posted on 29 July 2013, with it being used to shoot down a Syrian Mil Mi-8. In November 2013, the group captured two training-jets (L-39s used by the government as jet fighters) from the Syrian Air Force and showed them on the runway. But so far, they haven't been used in combat.
Role in Adra Massacre
On 11 December 2013, Al-Nusra Front and Jaysh al-Islam fighters entered the industrial town of Adra and targeted minority civilians, killing at least 32 Alawites, Christians, Druze and Ismailites. Some were shot at point-blank range, while others were beheaded. By December 31, the Syrian State media outlet, SANA, reports that thousands of civilians have been “evacuated” from the town.
- Islam Brigades
- Islamic Army Brigades
- The Army of Muslims Brigades
- Sword of Truth Brigades
- Sham Falcons Brigades
- Signs of Victory Brigades
- Conquest of Sham Brigades
- Ghouta Shield Brigades
- Siddiq Brigades
- Tawheed Al-Islam Brigades
- South of the Capital Brigades
- Badr Brigades
- Omar bin Abdulaziz Brigades
- Tawheed Soldiers Brigades
- Sword of Islam Brigades
- Omar bin Khattab Brigades
- Muath bin Jabal Brigades
- Zubayir bin Al-Awam Brigades
- Dhul Nurayin Brigades
- Ansar Brigades
- Hamzeh Brigades
- Air Defense Brigades
- Missile Defense Brigades
- Tank Brigades
- Military Direction Brigades
- Dahir Bebers Brigades
- Sword of Truth 2 Brigades
- Gamloon Warriors Brigades
- Slaves of the Merciful Brigades
- Murabiteen Brigades
- Bedouin Brigades
- Sunnah Supporters Brigades
- Ahul ul Bayt Brigades
- Martyrs of Atarib Brigades
- Coastal Defense Brigades
- Ain Jalout Brigades
- Tawheed Supporters Platoons
- Mujahideen Platoons
- Abu Dujana Falcons Platoons
- Sunnah Platoons
- Ansar Platoons
- Bara’a bin Azab Platoons
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