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The Army of Victory (Arabic: جيش النصر; Jaysh al-Nasr) is a Free Syrian Army-affiliated, armed opposition faction participating in the Syrian Civil War. Founded in August 2015 as a joint operations room of 16 member groups, three of the groups later fully merged into Jaysh al-Nasr. The group was supplied with US-made BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles.
Formation as a joint operations room
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Jaysh al-Nasr was formed in early August 2015 as a joint operations room with the stated objective being the "liberation of the northern countryside of Hama, breaking the regime's first defense line toward Hama the city." It was announced as a first step towards unifying the Free Syrian Army in Idlib and Hama provinces into a single operations room. The alliance initially comprised the following 16 groups:
- Falcons of al-Ghab
- Gathering of Glory
- Levant Front
- Salvation Front
- Falcons of Mount Zawiya Brigade
- 6th Brigade
- 111th Brigade
- 60th Brigade
- Bilad ash-Sham Brigade
- 111th Regiment
- Revolutionary Fedayeen Movement (former member of the Army of Revolutionaries)
- Hawks of Jihad Battalion
- Martyrs of Tremseh Brigade
- Al-Mashhour Battalions
- Antiquities Brigade
Reformation as a unified group
In late October 2015, it was announced that three of its component groups, the Falcons of al-Ghab, 111th Regiment, and the Salvation Front, completely merged into Jaysh al-Nasr with Suqour al-Ghab's commander, Major Muhammad Mansour, assuming the leadership of the new unified group. In late September 2016, the group previously known as Liwa Ahrar Darayya (who had been evacuated from Darayya due to a deal made with the Syrian government) announced they merge into Jaysh al-Nasr.
On 7 February 2017, Jund al-Aqsa attacked the headquarters of Jaysh al-Nasr near the town of Murak in northern Hama. Jund al-Aqsa captured more than 250 fighters from Jaysh al-Nasr. On 14 February, they reportedly killed at least 80 Jaysh al-Nasr prisoners before withdrawing from their positions north of Khan Shaykhun. Kafr Nuboudah and Kafr Zita villages were the origin of the Jaysh Nasr members whom Liwa al-Aqsa executed according to Moussa al-Omar. The casualties given for Jaysh Nasr were 56 fighters, 3 media reporters, and 11 military commanders, according to Moussa al-Omar. After Jund al-Aqsa committed slaughter at Khan Shaykhun, only one person lived to tell the tale.
On 22 May 2017, first lieutenant Alaa Rakhmon of Jaysh al-Nasr was assassinated by unknown assailants in the village of Kafr Nabudah. Rakhmon was a prominent operator of BGM-71 TOW missiles and was responsible for destroying several Syrian Army tanks during the 2017 Hama offensive.
Western financial support for Jaysh al-Nasr largely ended in October 2017. On 9 February 2018, the 111th Regiment and the Salvation Front left Jaysh al-Nasr. The Falcons of al-Ghab, led by Major Muhammad Mansour, became the only significant faction left in the group. Turkey continues to provide financial and military support for Jaysh al-Nasr and other rebel groups in the region. In exchange for continued support, Turkey requested these rebel groups to participate in the Turkish military operation in Afrin, which Jaysh al-Nasr did beginning on 16 February. On the same day, Jaysh al-Nasr appointed 3 new leaders.
In May 2018, along with 10 other rebel groups in northwestern Syria, the Army of Victory formed the National Front for Liberation, which was officially announced on 28 May. Maj. Muhammad Mansour, commander of Jaysh al-Nasr, was appointed chief of staff of the formation.
After it left the Army of Victory, the 111th Regiment joined the Sham Legion's northern Hama branch, which is also part of the NFL. On 6 January 2019, the Sham Legion expelled the 111th Regiment for insubordination.
- Al-Souria (5 August 2015). "Idleb, Hama Rebels Unite Under 'Army of Victory' Operations Room". The Syrian Observer. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
- Terrormonitor.org [@Terror_Monitor] (6 January 2017). "#SYRIA #FSA-Affiliate Uwais al-Qarni Battalion Merged With #JayshAlNasr In #Hama Countryside. #TerrorMonitor" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Nicholas A. Heras (2 March 2017). "Commanding the Jaysh al-Nasr Coalition: A Review of the Ascendancy of Major Muhammad Mansour". Jamestown Foundation.
- "New leaders of the "Victory Army" in northern Syria". Ana Press. 17 February 2018.
- "'Al-Qaeda is eating us': Syrian rebels are losing out to extremists". The Washington Post. 23 February 2017.
- "Al-Aqsa Brigade fighters executed 197 Free Army in Hama and retreat to tenderness". Akhbar Alaan. 23 February 2017.
- Abdul Razzaq al-Sabeeh (22 May 2017). "The assassination of one of the most skilled TOW shooters in the Army of Victory". All4Syria.
- "THE MODERATE REBELS: A GROWING LIST OF VETTED GROUPS FIELDING BGM-71 TOW ANTI-TANK GUIDED MISSILES". Hasan Mustafas. 5 August 2015.
- "11 FSA Factions in New Command in of "National Front Liberation"". Syria Call. 28 May 2018.
- جيش النصر (5 May 2016). "جيش النصر -- استهداف معاقل قوات النظام بقذائف الدبابات في جمعية الزهراء بمدينة حلب" – via YouTube.
- "Official statement listing groups involved in the 'North Hama Countryside Operations Room' - Jaish al-Nasr, Jaish al-Izza, Faylaq al-Sham, Abna al-Sham, Liwa Omar • /r/syriancivilwar".
- "In Idlib: "Free Army" Factions Receive Turkish Conditional Funding". Enab Baladi. 17 February 2018.
- "Army of Victory/Jaish al Nasr formed HAMA". Imgur.
- Former Darayya rebels now fighting Syrian Army in northern Hama Al Masdar News, September 28, 2016
- "Syrian government, rebels swap more than 100 prisoners in Hama". Reuters. 7 February 2017.
- "Al-Aqsa Brigade attacked the headquarters of an army victory Brive northern Hama". Al-Etihad Press. 7 February 2017.
- "Hardline Salafist brigade reportedly executes up to 160 rebel fighters as infighting rocks northwestern Syria". 16 February 2017.
- موسى العمر [@MousaAlomar] (19 February 2017). "معظم المقاتلين ال70الأسرى الذين أعدمهم لواء الأقصى في جيش النصر والعزة هم من كفر زيتا بشكل رئيسي وكفرنبودة وهم من خ…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- موسى العمر [@MousaAlomar] (19 February 2017). "تأكيد إعدام لواء الأقصى ل 11 قائداً عسكريا و 3 إعلاميين و 56 مقاتلا من #جيش_النصر الذي لم يوجه رصاصة ًأو قذيفةً لغير قوات النظام منذ تأسيسه" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- الناجي الوحيد. Feb 15, 2017.
- "Internal differences lead to splits in the "army of victory"". Enab Baladi. 9 February 2018.
- "The "Sham Corps" separates "Regiment 111" for not executing orders". Enab Baladi. 7 January 2019.