Abu Jaber Shaykh

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Abu Jaber Shaykh
Native name
أبو جابر الشيخ
Birth nameHashim al-Shaykh
Nickname(s)Abu Jaber Shaykh
Born1968 (1968) (age 54)[1]
Maskanah, Syria
Service/branchTahrir al-Sham
Years of service2011–present
Commands held
  • General commander of Ahrar al-Sham (2014–15)
  • Commander of the Army of Aleppo (February 2016)
  • Emir of Tahrir al-Sham (January–October 2017)
  • Shura head of Tahrir al-Sham (October 2017–present)
Battles/warsSyrian Civil War
Alma materUniversity of Aleppo[1]

Hashim al-Shaykh (Arabic: هاشم الشيخ), also known by his nom de guerre Abu Jaber Shaykh (Arabic: أبو جابر الشيخ) is a rebel commander during the Syrian Civil War who is a senior leader of Tahrir al-Sham. He had reportedly resigned from his position in Ahrar al-Sham where he served as a senior commander to help command and direct the merger. Abu Jaber is a Salafist Muslim with a jihadist ideology, which is reflected in the ideology of the group he leads.[1]

Pre-war activities[edit]

Abu Jaber received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Aleppo. After this, he worked at the Defence Factories near as-Safira. His Salafist activities led to him being arrested by the Syrian government several times. In 2005, he was imprisoned in the Sednaya Prison, infamous for holding a number of other Salafist prisoners who were later released.[1]

Syrian Civil War[edit]

On 25 September 2011, during the early phase of the Syrian Civil War, Abu Jaber was released from Sednaya Prison along with a number of other Salafist and jihadist political prisoners. He joined Harakat Fajr ash-Sham al-Islamiya and fought alongside the al-Nusra Front. He led a subgroup within Harakat Fajr ash-Sham al-Islamiya called the Mus‘ab ibn 'Umair Battalion, which became one of the founding members of Ahrar al-Sham. As of 2017, Abu Jaber was one of the three surviving founding figures of Ahrar al-Sham.[1]

In September 2014, the founder and commander of Ahrar al-Sham, Hassan Aboud, was assassinated along with 45 of his fighters in a bombing in the Idlib Governorate. Abu Jaber replaced his position and became the overall commander of Ahrar al-Sham.[3] He resigned and was replaced by Muhannad al-Masri (Abu Yahia al-Hamawi) in September 2015.[4] An Ahrar al-Sham spokesman described Abu Jaber's leadership as the "hardest" period of the group.[5]

On 15 February 2016, during the northern Aleppo offensive, 8 rebel factions pledged allegiance to Abu Jaber and established the Army of Aleppo to fight the Syrian Armed Forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces, including the Army of Revolutionaries.[2]

On 28 January 2017, Abu Jaber and dozens of other Ahrar al-Sham commanders declared their resignation from Ahrar al-Sham as five major Salafist and jihadist rebel groups led by the al-Nusra Front merged into Tahrir al-Sham. Abu Jaber became the group's emir.[6] Abu Jaber is one of the three surviving founding leaders of Ahrar al-Sham, and their decision to join the merger significantly discredited the group.[7]

Abu Jaber released a speech on 8 February 2017,[8] where he called Shia Islam the "enemy"[9]

On 1 October 2017, Abu Jaber resigned from his position as the general commander of Tahrir al-Sham, being replaced by Abu Mohammad al-Julani. Abu Jaber took another position as the head of HTS's Shura council.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e THOMAS JOSCELYN (10 February 2017). "Hay'at Tahrir al Sham leader calls for 'unity' in Syrian insurgency". Long War Journal.
  2. ^ a b "Aleppo rebels rally around former Ahrar leader". Now News. 16 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Syria rebels name slain leader's replacement". Al-Jazeera. 11 September 2014.
  4. ^ "Mmedia.me - mmedia Resources and Information".
  5. ^ "After trying period, Ahrar al-Sham infuses leadership with 'new blood'". Syria:direct. 13 September 2015.
  6. ^ Thomas Joscelyn (28 January 2017). "Al Qaeda and allies announce 'new entity' in Syria". FDD's Long War Journal.
  7. ^ News, OGN (29 January 2017). "Tahrer Sham: Who won in this merger?". Archived from the original on 1 February 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  8. ^ Lister, Charles (8 February 2017). "HTS has announced that its leader Abu Jaber (Hashem al-Sheikh) will soon issue a video statement". Twitter.
  9. ^ Lister, Charles (9 February 2017). "HTS leader Abu Jaber". Twitter.
  10. ^ "Julani is a temporary leader of the "Liberation of the Sham" .. This is the fate of its former leader". HuffPost. 2 October 2017. Archived from the original on 2 October 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2017.