Ansar al-Din Front

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Supporters of the Religion Front
جبهة أنصار الدين
Jabhat Ansar al-Din
Participant in Syrian Civil War
Emblem of the Ansar al-Deen Front.svg
Active 25 July 2014 – 28 January 2017[1]
1 February 2018 - present (splinter)[2]
Ideology Salafist jihadism[3]
Groups
  • Liwa Suyuf al-Sham (greater Idlib area)[4][better source needed]
  • Islamic Dawn Movement of the Levant
    • al-Murabitin Battalion
    • Osama Battalion
    • Abu Ali Yemeni Battalion
    • Abu Hilal Zitan Battalion
Leaders Abu Abdullah al-Shami[5]
Area of operations Aleppo Governorate
Idlib Governorate
Homs Governorate
Hama Governorate
Latakia Governorate[6]
Allies Al-Nusra Front
Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria
Opponents

Syria Syria

Flag of Syrian Democratic Forces.svg Syrian Democratic Forces
Hezbollah
Liwa Fatemiyoun
 Iran
Battles and wars

Syrian Civil War

Jabhat Ansar al-Din[6] (Arabic: جبهة أنصار الدين‎, The Supporters of the Religion Front) is a jihadist alliance that announced itself on 25 July 2014, during the Syrian Civil War.[1] The alliance contains two groups: Harakat Sham al-Islam and Harakat Fajr ash-Sham al-Islamiya; it had declared that was not affiliated with any other "parties".[1] The Green Battalion was originally a signatory, but around October 2014, it swore allegiance to the leader of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar and was integrated into that faction.[10] The alliance had attempted to maintain neutrality in the conflict between ISIL and other groups.[6] On January 28, 2017, it joined with numerous other factions to form Tahrir al-Sham[11], though portions of it left HTS in February of 2018.[12]

The groups involved in the coalition have diverse memberships; Harakat Fajr Sham al-Islamiya numbers mostly Syrians from the Aleppo area,[13] while Harakat Sham al-Islam was formed around a core of Moroccan fighters,[14] the Green Battalion mainly had fighters from Saudi Arabia[14] and Jaish al-Mujahireen wal-Ansar was formed by Chechen and other Russian-speaking fighters.[15] On 23 September 2015, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar left and joined Jabhat al-Nusra.[16]

Timeline[edit]

Groups[edit]

Harakat Sham al-Islam[edit]

Flag of Harakat Sham al-Islam

Harakat Sham al-Islam (Arabic: حركة شام الإسلام‎, meaning "Islamic Movement of the Levant") is a jihadist group composed of primarily Moroccans that has been active during the Syrian Civil War.[17] The group announced on 25 July 2014 that it became part of the Jabhat Ansar al-Din.[1] It was designated as a terrorist organization by the US State Department on 24 September 2014.[18]

The group was founded in August 2013[19] by three Moroccan detainees who had been released from the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Ibrahim bin Shakran, Ahmed Mizouz and Mohammed Alami.[20] Harakat Sham al-Islam first came to notice because of the role it played in the 2013 Latakia offensive.[21] The following year the group was one of the three primary factions, alongside Al-Nusra Front and Ansar al-Sham, that took part in the 2014 Latakia offensive.[22] Harakat Sham al-Islam also has a presence in Aleppo, being involved in battles for Kindi Hospital and the Aleppo Central Prison.[21]

The group's leader, Shakran, was killed in a battle with Syrian Government forces in April 2014,[23] along with the group's military commander, Abu Safiya Al-Masri.[24] On 12 December 2016 they fully dissolved into Jabhat Ansar al-Din.[5]

Harakat Fajr ash-Sham al-Islamiya[edit]

Harakat Fajr ash-Sham al-Islamiya (Arabic: حركة فجر الشام‎, Islamic Dawn Movement of the Levant) is a jihadist group that has been active during the Syrian Civil War.[25] The group announced on 25 July 2014 that it became part of the Jabhat Ansar al-Din.[1] On 12 December 2016, the group fully dissolved into Jabhat Ansar al-Din.[5]

On 1 February 2018, Harakat Fajr ash-Sham al-Islamiya left Tahrir al-Sham.[12]

On 20 June 2018, al-Murabitin Battalion, Osama Battalion, Abu Ali Yemeni Battalion and Abu Hilal Zitan Battalion left Tahrir al-Sham to join the Islamic Dawn Movement of the Levant.[26]

Relationship with other groups[edit]

The group has stated they desire to maintain a policy of neutrality and independence between various groups in fighting against the Syrian government as well as stating a desire to cooperate with these groups as well [27], prior the formation of the group the member groups did cooperate with ISIL in early 2014 in in besieging the Kweiris airbase [28].

In an interview in 2015 a representative from the group was asked about their views regarding both al-Nusra and ISIL to which the representative said regarding al-Nusra "The problem is with them, not with us: we are prepared to work with all upright factions whose goals are like ours. It is not hidden from anyone that the goals of the majority of factions are like our goals." He added when asked if al-Nusra has made mistakes on the ground "In my personal opinion indeed we all make mistakes…and perhaps in Jabhat al-Nusra’s point of view it is not necessary to establish a Caliphate while the gangs of Assad exist in Syria." When asked about the group's stance on ISIL he said "We have no relation with IS (Islamic State). We don’t fight them and they don’t fight us. But anyone who says that Jabhat Ansar al-Din is affiliated with IS is lying."[29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Syria Update: July 17 - 25, 2014". Institute for the Study of War Syria Updates. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  2. ^ https://twitter.com/ibnnabih1/status/1012227374816071680?s=21
  3. ^ "Control of Terrain in Syria: February 9, 2015" (PDF). Institute for the Study of War. 9 February 2015. Retrieved 30 April 2015. the Aleppo Salafi Jihadist coalition Jabhat Ansar al-Din. 
  4. ^ @sayed_ridha (1 January 2017). "The same group which operates in..." (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Moroccan jihadist group merges with local Syrian faction". Long War Journal. 17 December 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c "Jabhat Ansar al-Din: Analysis and Interview". Syria Comment. 23 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  7. ^ https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2016/10/jihadists-and-other-rebels-launch-new-offensive-in-aleppo.php
  8. ^ http://iswsyria.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/second-idlib-stronghold-falls-to-jabhat.html
  9. ^ http://iswresearch.blogspot.com/
  10. ^ "Video: Saudi Faction Swears Allegiance To Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar Emir". From Chechnya To Syria. 4 October 2014. Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  11. ^ "Syria Islamist factions, including former al Qaeda branch, join forces: statement". Reuters. 28 January 2017. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c "New component split from "Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham"". Syria Call. 9 February 2018. 
  13. ^ "Syria's Salafi Insurgents: the Rise of the Syrian Islamic Front" (PDF). Swedish Institute for International Affairs. March 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 March 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  14. ^ a b "The Syrian rebel groups pulling in foreign fighters". BBC. 24 December 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  15. ^ "Chechen commander forms 'Army of Emigrants,' integrates Syrian groups". Long War Journal. 28 March 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  16. ^ "Insurgent group pledges allegiance to al Qaeda's Syria wing". Reuters. 23 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  17. ^ "The Syrian rebel groups pulling in foreign fighters". BBC. 24 December 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  18. ^ "Designations of Foreign Terrorist Fighters". US Department of State. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "Muhajireen Battalions in Syria". 13 December 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  20. ^ "After Guantanamo, Freed Detainees Returned to Violence in Syria Battlefields". The Wall Street Journal. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "Abu Ahmad al-Maghrebi (Ibrahim Bencheqroun), un vétéran du Jihad mort en Syrie - Jihad veteran killed in Syria". Archived from the original on 2014-04-05. 
  22. ^ "Syrie: combats féroces autour d'un point de passage avec la Turquie". 21 March 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  23. ^ "Former Guantanamo detainee killed while leading jihadist group in Syria". Long War Journal. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  24. ^ "مصرع قائد حركة شام الاسلام ونائبه خلال اشتباكات مع قوات النظام". Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 3 April 2014. 
  25. ^ "Minority Dynamics in Syria". Syria Comment. 29 July 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  26. ^ https://twitter.com/badly_xeroxed/status/1009531446699143170
  27. ^ http://www.aymennjawad.org/15538/jabhat-ansar-al-din-analysis-and-interview
  28. ^ http://www.aymennjawad.org/14413/the-assad-regime-and-jihadis-collaborators
  29. ^ http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/jabhat-ansar-al-din-analysis-interview/

External links[edit]