Army of Mujahideen
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|Army of Mujahideen|
Arabic: جيش المجاهدينParticipant in the Syrian Civil War
Logo of the Army of Mujahideen
|Active||2 January 2014 – 25 January 2017|
|Area of operations||Aleppo Governorate, Syria|
|Size||5,000+–12,000 (own claim, 2014)|
4,000 (own claim, May 2016)
|Battles and war(s)||Syrian Civil War|
The Army of Mujahideen (Arabic: جيش المجاهدين, Jaysh al-Mujahideen) was a Sunni Islamist rebel group formed in order to fight the Syrian government and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) during the Syrian Civil War. Originally a coalition of several Islamist rebel groups, it accused ISIL of disrupting "security and stability" in areas that had been captured from the Syrian government. During its establishment in January 2014, the spokesperson of the coalition said it would start operations in Idlib and Aleppo and gradually expand towards the rest of Syria. In December 2016, the Army of Mujahideen was briefly reorganized as Jabhat Ahl al-Sham (Arabic: جبهة أهل الشام; Front of the People of the Levant), but this formation soon fell apart during rebel infighting in January 2017.
The Army of Mujahideen did not have a political program. Although the member groups have an Islamist identity, they were largely non-ideological Free Syrian Army affiliated groups formed earlier in the Syrian Civil War.
The factions which formed the Army of Mujahideen largely emerged from the villages and towns of the Aleppo hinterland. The three groups at the core of the alliance were Division 19, the Fastaqim Union and the Nour al-Din al-Zanki Islamic Brigades, which was also then part of the Authenticity and Development Front.
In March 2014, members of one of its component groups, the Fastaqim Union, stopped Marcell Shehwaro, a Syrian Christian opposition activist, and demanded her to wear a hijab. She refused and was arrested, taken to a Sharia court, and forced to sign an agreement pledging to wear the hijab. An Army of Mujahideen commander issued a statement apologizing for its fighters' violent actions, but the ruling requiring Shehwaro to wear a hijab still stood.
On 4 May 2014, the Army of Mujahideen announced the withdrawal of the Nour al-Din al-Zanki Islamic Brigades from the coalition. On 3 June 2014, the Army of Mujahideen announced the expulsion of Division 19's Ansar Brigade and its leader, Abu Bakr, accusing them of theft and kidnapping.
Charles Lister, of the Brookings Doha Center, described the Army of Mujahideen as being a shadow of its former self by August 2014, partially due to a reduction in support it had received from foreign states. Fastaqim Kama Umirt left the group around December 2014.
In September 2014, the United States began planning weapon supplies to the group, and in the same month, fifty of the group's fighters were given military training in Qatar and supplied with BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles in a covert CIA program.
Several factions of the group, including the al-Noor Islamic Movement, the Amjad al-Islam Brigade, and the al-Quds Brigades left to join the Revolutionaries of the Levant Battalions in April 2015.
In December 2016, the Army of Mujahideen re-merged with Thuwar al-Sham Battalion and the Banner of Islam Movement to form Jabhat Ahl al-Sham.
On 23 January 2017, the al-Nusra Front attacked Jabhat Ahl al-Sham bases in Atarib and other towns in western Aleppo. All the bases were captured and by 24 January, the group was defeated and joined Ahrar al-Sham.
- Army of Mujahideen
- 19th Division
- Ansar Brigade
- Supporters of the Caliphate Brigade
- Khan al-Asal Free Brigades
- Ash-Shuyukh Brigade
- Muhajireen Brigade
- Battalion of the Martyr Muhammad Sha'ban
- Farouq Battalion
- 5th Battalion
- Revolutionaries of Atarib Gathering
- Atarib Martyrs Brigade
- Battalion of the Martyr Alaa al-Ahmad
- Central Force for the City of Atarib
- Ansar al-Haqq Battalion
- Loyalty to God Battalion
- Shells of Justice Brigade
- 19th Division
Former member groups
- Nour al-Din al-Zenki Islamic Battalions
- Fastaqim Union
- Azadî Battalion
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The 50 fighters were the first from their group to attend the training in Qatar, part of an ostensibly covert CIA program to offer military support to vetted factions in opposition to President Bashar al-Assad
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