Ansar al-Sham

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Kata'ib Ansar al-Sham
Supporters of the Levant Battalions[1]
Arabic: كتائب أنصار الشام
Participant in the Syrian Civil War
Ansar al-Sham Logo
Ansar al-Sham Logo
Active September 2012[2] – present

Sunni Islamism[3]

Groups al-Zahir Baybars Battalion[4]
Leaders Abu Omar al-Jamil
(overall leader)
Abu Musa al-Shishani
(military commander)[2]
Headquarters Jabal al-Akrad, Latakia Governorate[4]
Area of operations Latakia Governorate[5]
Idlib Governorate[1]
Size 2,500[4] (March 2014)
Part of

Jaysh al-Islam[6] (December 2016–January 2017, branch part of Ahrar al-Sham since January 2017)

Tahrir al-Sham (February 2017–August 2018)[7]
Battles and wars

Syrian Civil War

Kata'ib Ansar al-Sham (Arabic: كتائب أنصار الشام‎, Supporters of the Levant Battalions) is an armed Sunni Islamist rebel group active in the Syrian Civil War, mainly fighting against Syrian government forces.[3]

Founded in September 2012 by a Latakian veteran of the Soviet–Afghan War known as Abu Omar al-Jamil, Ansar al-Sham brought together a wide range of mostly Syrian fighters in northern Latakia Governorate on a conservative Sunni Islamist platform. The group's military leader is a Chechen known as Abu Musa al-Shishani, and it maintained good relations with a wide variety of other rebel groups in the area, from Free Syrian Army-affiliated groups to al-Qaeda's al-Nusra Front and Harakat Sham al-Islam. As of March 2014, Ansar al-Sham fighters each receive a $60 salary every month.[4]


In December 2012, Ansar al-Sham joined with other Sunni Islamist and Salafist groups to found the Syrian Islamic Front umbrella organisation,[11] in November 2013 the SIF was dissolved and Liwa al-Haqq, Ansar al-Sham and Ahrar ash-Sham joined the broader Islamic Front alliance.[3]

Ansar al-Sham played a lead role in the 2014 Latakia offensive against government forces.[2]

On 15 December 2016, the group declared that it decided to completely merge under Jaysh al-Islam's Idlib branch.[6] On 25 January 2017, Jaysh al-Islam's Idlib branch joined Ahrar al-Sham, thus Ansar al-Sham also joined.[12]

On 7 February 2017, Ansar al-Sham defected from Ahrar al-Sham to join Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).[7]

At dawn on 23 August 2018, Tahrir al-Sham and Turkistan Islamic Party fighters raided Ansar al-Sham's headquarters and positions in the northern Latakia mountains and the countryside west of Jisr al-Shughur. Clashes took place and Ansar al-Sham commanders refused to fight, handing over their headquarters, which contained a large amount of weapons and ammunition, to HTS.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sinjab, Lina (17 October 2013). "Syria crisis: Guide to armed and political opposition". BBC. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Rebels Reopen the Latakia Front". Institute for the Study of War. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "A Power Move by Syria's Rebel Forces". Institute for the Study of War. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e Tam Hussein (24 March 2014). "The Ansar al-Sham Battalions". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  5. ^ Aaron Y. Zelin (4 February 2013). "The Syrian Islamic Front: A New Extremist Force". The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  6. ^ a b "استجابة للمطالب الشعبية.. "أنصار الشام" تندمج بـ"جيش الإسلام" - شبكة بلدي الإعلامية". Baladi News Network. 15 December 2016.
  7. ^ a b "New statement from Hayy'at Taḥrīr al-Shām: "Katā'ib Anṣār al-Shām Joins Hayy'at Taḥrīr al-Shām"". Jihadology. February 7, 2017.
  8. ^ "Freedom, Human Rights, Rule of Law: The Goals and Guiding Principles of the Islamic Front and Its Allies". Democratic Revolution, Syrian Style. 17 May 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  9. ^ "Regime Regains Ground on the Coast". Institute for the Study of War. 22 August 2013. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Syrie: combats féroces autour d'un point de passage avec la Turquie". AFP. 21 March 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  11. ^ "The Syrian Islamic Front: A New Extremist Force". Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 19 May 2014.
  12. ^ "هادي العبدالله Hadi on Twitter".
  13. ^ "Liberation Sham attacking a military faction in the coast and take over his headquarters". STEP News Agency. 23 August 2018.

External links[edit]