Junud al-Sham

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Junud al-Sham
جنود الشام
Participant in the Syrian Civil War
Logo of Junud al-Sham
Logo of Junud al-Sham
Active2012 – present
IdeologySunni Islamism
Salafi movement
Group(s)Liwaa Usud al-Idlam Artillery and Infantry Battalion (former)[1]
LeadersMuslim Abu Walid al Shishani[2]
HeadquartersJisr al-Shughur[3]
Area of operationsSyria
Size30 (2016 estimate)[6]
Allies Ahrar al-Sham[5]
Tahrir al-Sham[2]
Group of the One and Only[7]
Opponent(s) Syria
 Iran
 Russia
Syrian Resistance
Hezbollah
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (2017-2018)
Battles and war(s)Syrian Civil War

Junud al-Sham (Soldiers of the Levant), sometimes also called Jund al-Sham,[3] is a group of Chechen and Lebanese Sunni mujahideen that fight in the Syrian Civil War and are led by Muslim Abu Walid al Shishani.

History[edit]

Unlike many other foreign mujahideen, Junud al-Sham remained mostly independent from other Syrian rebel groups. Many of its fighters defected to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant commander Abu Omar al-Shishani in 2014. The remainder of the group remained combat-ready, and continued to take part in military operations in 2015.[3] Financial difficulties caused a further decline, however, and some sources claimed that it was reduced to merely 30 fighters by early 2016.[6] Many of its members had reportedly left in order to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. In a video address, Muslim Shishani consequently reproached other insurgent groups in Syria for not providing assistance, which regional expert Joanna Paraszczuk described as a "rant".[6][9] In September 2016, Junud al-Sham travelled to Hama Governorate in order to fight in a local rebel offensive.[10] Later that year, there were reports according to which the group had dissolved, reportedly as result of clashes with Ahrar al-Sham,[11] with many of its Chechen fighters reportedly joining Ajnad al-Kavkaz.[12]

Despite these reports, however, other reports suggested remnants of Junud al-Sham were still active by 2018. In January 2018, pro-government media reported that "a military source in Damascus" said the group took part in a major military campaign against the government in northwestern Syria.[13] Meanwhile, the Turkish newspaper Yeni Akit claimed he was participating in the Turkish military operation in Afrin.[14] However, Shishani denied that he or his followers were in Afrin, and confirmed he was in Hama, fighting alongside another Chechen militia, Tarkhan Gaziyev's Katiba Abd Ar-Rahman.[15] A German foreign fighter with the group named Abu Khalid al-Shami said in an interview that the group clashed with ISIL in Abu Dali.[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ""Jaish al-Hama" regional rebel merger pledges allegiance to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham". Conflict News. 15 August 2017. Archived from the original on 19 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Split Among North Caucasian Fighters in Syria". The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst. 2 July 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e Mairbek Vatchagaev (1 October 2015). "Is Moscow Set to Target Russians Fighting Against Assad in Syria?". Jamestown Foundation. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Syrian opposition groups fail to capture Aleppo prison". Al Monitor. 2 February 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b c "Chechen al Qaeda commander, popular Saudi cleric, and an Ahrar al Sham leader spotted on front lines in Latakia". Long War Journal. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Joanna Paraszczuk (12 January 2016). "Muslim Shishani makes video address about situation in Latakia". From Chechnya to Syria. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  7. ^ "GUEST POST: The 4 Chechen Brigades In Jamaat Ahadun Ahad". From Chechnya To Syria. 16 August 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  8. ^ Weiss, Caleb (23 April 2015). "Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria involved in new Idlib offensive". Long War Journal.
  9. ^ "Chechens Fighting in Syria Increasingly Joining Forces With Islamic State". Jamestown Foundation. 3 March 2016.
  10. ^ Fadel, Leith (14 September 2016). "Chechen jihadist group joins rebels in northern Hama". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  11. ^ "Der Syrische Bürgerkrieg - Update 19 04 2017". Truppendienst.com (Austrian Armed Forces) (in German). 27 April 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  12. ^ Rao Komar (19 November 2016). "Most Chechens left and joined Ajnad al-Kavkaz. Junud leader Muslim Shishani has not joined another group and is not fighting currently". Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  13. ^ Leith Aboufadel (26 January 2018). "Al-Qaeda linked Chechen group and infamous commander head to southern Idlib to fight Syrian Army". al-Masdar News. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  14. ^ "Ünlü Çeçen komutan Zeytin Dalı operasyonuna katıldı". yeniakit (in Turkish). Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  15. ^ Joanna Paraszczuk (29 January 2018). "Tarkhan's jamaat (Katiba abd ar-Rahman) fighting in Hama alongside Muslim Shishani". From Chechnya to Syria. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  16. ^ Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi (8 September 2019). "A German Muhajir in al-Sham: Interview". Retrieved 9 September 2019.

External links[edit]