|Kata'ib Ansar al-Sham|
Supporters of the Levant Battalions
Arabic: كتائب أنصار الشامParticipant in the Syrian Civil War
Ansar al-Sham Logo
|Active||September 2012 – present|
|Groups||al-Zahir Baybars Battalion|
Abu Omar al-Jamil|
Abu Musa al-Shishani
|Headquarters||Jabal al-Akrad, Latakia Governorate|
|Area of operations||
|Size||2,500 (March 2014)|
|Part of||Tahrir al-Sham (February 2017–August 2018)|
|Battles and wars|
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.
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.
In December 2012, Ansar al-Sham joined with other Sunni Islamist and Salafist groups to found the Syrian Islamic Front umbrella organisation, in November 2013 the SIF was dissolved and Liwa al-Haqq, Ansar al-Sham and Ahrar ash-Sham joined the broader Islamic Front alliance.
On 15 December 2016, the group declared that it decided to completely merge under Jaysh al-Islam's Idlib branch. On 25 January 2017, Jaysh al-Islam's Idlib branch joined Ahrar al-Sham, thus Ansar al-Sham also joined.
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.
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