Abu Firas al-Suri

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Radwan Nammous
Abu Firas al-Suri.png
Born1950
Madaya, Syria
DiedApril 3, 2016(2016-04-03) (aged 65–66)
Idlib Governorate, Syria
NationalitySyrian
Military career
Allegiance Syria
(Until 1979)
al-Qaeda
(Late 1980s)
Service/branch Syrian Army
(Until 1979)
al-Nusra Front
(2012–2016)
RankChief Spokesperson for the al-Nusra Front
Battles/warsSyria

Lebanon

Military intervention against ISIL

Radwan Nammous (1950 – April 3, 2016), also known by his nom de guerre Abu Firas al-Suri, was a senior official in the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front, serving as the group's spokesman.[1]

Early life[edit]

Suri was born in 1950 in the Syrian town of Madaya, near Damascus. He joined the Syrian military and attained the rank of lieutenant but was discharged due to his Islamist leanings in 1979.[2]

He then joined the Muslim Brotherhood of Syria and was reportedly a military trainer in the Muslim Brotherhood's Fighting Vanguard group during the Islamist uprising in Syria against the Hafez al-Assad regime between 1979 and 1980.[3]

Al Suri later traveled to Afghanistan, where he met Abdullah Azzam, a founding father of modern jihadism, and Osama bin Laden. He then helped bin Laden and Pakistani jihadists establish Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist organization that remains closely linked to al-Qaeda to this day.[3]

After the 9/11 attacks, al Suri helped the families of al-Qaeda members escape Afghanistan. From 2003 to 2013 he was in Yemen, until the dispute between the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant erupted.[3]

Syrian Civil War[edit]

Due to the infighting between jihadist groups in Syria, Al Qaeda’s senior leaders dispatched al-Suri to Syria, where he participated in failed mediation efforts between al-Nusra Front and ISIL.

Role within the al-Nusra Front[edit]

Al-Suri's role as a senior figure in the al-Nusra Front was not publicly known until March 2014 when he appeared in a Nusra video speaking against ISIL.[4] In the following months. al-Suri took on an increasingly prominent role within al-Nusra. Al-Suri became a spokesman for events such as the group's hostage taking of UN peacekeepers in 2014.[4] In July 2014, an audio recording of a major rally of fighters in Syria was leaked. In it, al-Suri could be heard introducing Abu Mohammad al-Julani, al-Nusra’s emir, who spoke of establishing an Islamic emirate in Syria. In a video released by al-Nusra on 8 August 2014, al-Suri said al-Nusra would declare an emirate in Syria only after consulting with other factions.[4]

The American Bilal Abdul Kareem interviewed Abu Firas in Syria, in which Abu Firas said that the ultimate aims of his people did not just include Syria, but they were merely fighting in Syria for the time being.[5] Bilal's interview of Abu Firas was shown in an Al-Qaeda video released by Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called "Three Sheikhs of Jihad".[6][7][8]

Abu Firas appeared in a Nusra video which released more information on him, such as his previous Muslim Brotherhood affiliation and his association with bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam.[9] Abu Firas al Suri and Abu Sulayman al Muhajir appeared in "The Heirs of Glory" a video released by Nusra Front, which vowed to bring back the caliphate, included old audio by Osama bin Laden (such as his 1998 announcement that "So we seek to incite the Islamic Nation so it may rise to liberate its lands and perform Jihad in the path of Allah, and to establish the law of Allah, so the Word of Allah may be supreme"). The video glorified the September 11 attacks and the Islamists Sayyid Qutb and Abdullah Azzam.[10]

Ahrar ash-Sham was criticized by Abu Firas.[11] Ahrar was attacked for listening to Turkey and Qatar asking for a split between al Qaeda and Nusra and Ahrar trying to gain support from the west, Turkey, and Qatar.[12] Abu Firas's criticism was expounded on to Ahrar by Abu Qatada.[13][14] His article was criticized by Abu Abdullah al-Shami.[15]

Ahrar's alleged compliance with non-Muslims was Abu Firas's criticism.[16] Ahrar was compared to a non-virgin girl by Abu Firas.[17] The approval of the Revolutionary covenant of May 2014 was deemed as "nationalism" of Ahrar by Abu Firas[18] Abu Ammar al Shami rebuked Abu Firas Al Suri over Ahrar criticism.[19] A photo of Abu Khaled al-Suri, Hassan Abboud of Ahrar ash-Sham, and Abu Firas al-Suri was released.[20][21][22]

In an article published in the 19th edition of the Turkistan Islamic Party's magazine "Islamic Turkistan", Radwan Nammous (Abu Firas al-Suri) denounced the United Nations, secularism, civility and democracy.[23] "Doğu Türkistan Haber Ajansı" published a Turkish language version[24] of an interview between Nusra Magazine El Risale and Abu Firas al-Suri[25]

Death[edit]

On 3 April 2016, Abu Firas al-Suri (at the age of 65),[26] his son and 20 other al-Nusra Front fighters were killed in a US airstrike in Syria's Idlib province.[27][28][29]

Ahrar leader Abdul Razzaq Al Mahdi tweeted his condolences upon Abu Firas's death.[30][31] Nusra disseminated a biography of Abu Firas al-Suri.[32] after his death by the US airstrike.[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Who's who in the Nusra Front?". al-Araby. 15 December 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Syrian Nusra Front's Abu Firas killed in suspected drone strike: rebels". Reuters. 3 April 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Al Nusrah Front spokesman explains differences with Islamic State in video appearance". The Long War Journal. 13 August 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Al Qaeda veteran takes on a more prominent role as spokesman in Syria". The Long War Journal. 6 September 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  5. ^ Abu Firas al-Suri, Bilal Abdul Kareem (Aug 12, 2015). 1 of 3 Bilal Abdul Kareem Interviews Jabha Nusra Shura Member Abu Firas.
  6. ^ Joscelyn, Thomas (January 17, 2017). "Ayman al Zawahiri honors 2 slain jihadis in new video". Long War Journal. Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
  7. ^ Van Ostaeyen, Pieter. "Ayman az-Zawahiri – The Three Shaykhs". Twitter.
  8. ^ "New video message from al-Qā'idah's Dr. Ayman al-Ẓawāhirī: "Carrying the Weapon of the Martyr, Episode 4: The Three Shaykhs"". Jihadology. January 16, 2017.
  9. ^ Joscelyn, Thomas (March 20, 2014). "Al Qaeda veteran appears in Al Nusrah Front video, criticizes rival". Long War Journal. Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
  10. ^ Joscelyn, Thomas (June 29, 2015). "Al Nusrah Front celebrates 9/11 attacks in new video". Long War Journal.
  11. ^ Lister, Charles (12 Sep 2015). Twitter https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/642641233303707648. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Hassan, Hassan (12 Sep 2015). Twitter https://twitter.com/hxhassan/status/642851409407410176. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ Hassan, Hassan (15 Sep 2015). Twitter https://twitter.com/hxhassan/status/643937740103516161. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ "Risalah Syaikh Abu Qatadah Al-Filisthini kepada Syaikh Abu Firas As-Suri dan Ahrar Syam". Arrahmah.com. 19 September 2015.
  15. ^ Hassan, Hassan (25 Sep 2015). Twitter https://twitter.com/hxhassan/status/647551008093130752. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ Orton, Kyle W. (21 Nov 2015). Twitter https://twitter.com/KyleWOrton/status/668253989650227200. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ Orton, Kyle W. (21 Nov 2015). Twitter https://twitter.com/KyleWOrton/status/668254811410866180. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ Orton, Kyle W. (21 Nov 2015). Twitter https://twitter.com/KyleWOrton/status/668259107879677952. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ Joscelyn, Thomas (3 Apr 2016). Twitter https://twitter.com/thomasjoscelyn/status/716710463636115457. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ Lister, Charles A. (3 Apr 2016). Twitter https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/716735336156569600. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ Joscelyn, Thomas (3 Apr 2016). Twitter https://twitter.com/thomasjoscelyn/status/716736033052880896. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. ^ Orton, Kyle W. (3 Apr 2016). Twitter https://twitter.com/KyleWOrton/status/716739780772540416. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^ رضوان محمود نموس (أبو فراس) (April 2016). "لا تساوم" (PDF). تركستان الإسلامية. No. العدد 19. p. 36.
  24. ^ "Nusret Cephesi Liderlerinden Şeyh Ebu Firas Es – Suri ile Röportaj". Doğu Türkistan Haber Ajansı (in Turkish). infocenter.media. 29 October 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  25. ^ Zelin, Aaron Y. (October 25, 2015). "New issue of the magazine: "al-Risālah #2"". JIHADOLOGY: A clearinghouse for jihādī primary source material, original analysis, and translation service.
  26. ^ VIDEO: Nusra Spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri' Killed in Idlib Massive Airstrike
  27. ^ "Nusra Front spokesman killed by air strike in Syria". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  28. ^ "Syria's Qaeda spokesman, 20 jihadists dead in strikes: monitor". www.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  29. ^ "US strikes al Qaeda's 'Khorasan Group' in Syria | The Long War Journal". The Long War Journal. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  30. ^ Joscelyn, Thomas (3 Apr 2016). Twitter https://twitter.com/thomasjoscelyn/status/716736783468335108. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  31. ^ المهدي, عبد الرزاق (3 Apr 2016). Twitter https://twitter.com/ShaykhRazzaq/status/716730554666889216. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  32. ^ Lister, Charles A. (3 Apr 2016). Twitter https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/716745028148858880. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. ^ Lister, Charles A. (3 Apr 2016). Twitter https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/716722094302695425. Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]