Liwa Zainebiyoun

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Liwa Zainebiyoun
لواء زينبیون
LeadersAyatollah Ali Khamenei (Supreme Leader of Iran)
Dates of operationlate 2014 – present[1] officially in 2015 Novemeber[2]
Allegiance
Active regions
IdeologyShia Islamism
StatusActive
Sizec. 5,000+ (2019)[16]
Part ofAxis of Resistance[17][18]
AlliesState allies

Non-State allies

OpponentsState opponents

Non-State opponents

Battles and warsSyrian civil war
Yemeni Civil War[8]
Insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir[25]

The Followers of Zainab Brigade (Arabic: لِوَاء الزَّيْنَبِيُون‎, romanizedLiwā’ az-Zaynabīyūn, Persian/Dari: لواء زينبیون or لشکر زينبیون, Liwa Zainebiyoun or Liwa Zainabiyoon), literally Zainebiyoun Brigade, also known as Zainebiyoun Division, is a pro-government brigade fighting in Syria composed of Shia Pakistanis.[29][3] It draws recruits from Shia Pakistanis living in Iran[3] and native Shia of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.[1]

It was formed and trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and operates under their command.[3] Initially tasked with defending the Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque,[4][5] it has since entered frontlines across Syria.[1] Its dead are buried primarily in Iran.[3][5] Approximately 158 of their fighters have died in Syria as of March 2019, excluding those killed in Israeli airstrikes.[30] According to recent estimations, the total number of Pakistani fighters on the brigade hardly exceeds 800.[15]

History[edit]

Pakistanis have been fighting in Syria since 2013.[4] They originally fought in the Afghan Liwa Fatemiyoun, and only became numerous enough to warrant a distinct brigade in early 2015.[1] Some of the fighters are Baloch.[31] and Pastun like other Shia foreign brigades in Syria, it is funded, trained, and overseen by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.[6][7]

Its official purpose is to defend the Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque (the shrine of Zaynab bint Ali, sister of Imam Hussain and granddaughter of Muhammad) and other Shia holy sites in Syria.[4] It operates primarily in Damascus defending these holy sites. However, since 2015, it has also engaged in offensive action around Daraa[3][32] and Aleppo, along with other foreign Shia fighters.[1]

On 9 April 2015, 7 fighters were killed defending the Imam Hasan Mosque and were buried in Qom, Iran.[4] In March 2016, 6 fighters were killed defending the Imam Reza shrine, also buried in Qom.[33] On 23 April 5 more fighters were killed.[34] An estimated 69 fighters were killed between November 2014 and March 2016.[1]

In early 2018 the group was involved in the Battle of Khasham against US special forces and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.[20]

Reaction in Pakistan[edit]

In December 2015, a bomb killed 23 and injured 30 in Parachinar. Terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility, and said that it was "revenge For the crimes against Syrian Muslims by Iran and Bashar al-Assad" and threatened to continue terror attacks if Parachinar citizens did not "stop sending people to take part in Syrian war".[24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Liwa Zainebiyoun: Syria's Pakistani Fighters". iraqeye.
  2. ^ Heistein, Ari; West, James (20 November 2015). "Syria's Other Foreign Fighters: Iran's Afghan and Pakistani Mercenaries". National Interest. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Meet the Zainebiyoun Brigade: An Iranian Backed Pakistani Shia Militia Fighting in Syria". Archived from the original on 2 May 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e Farhan Zahid (27 May 2016). "The Zainabiyoun Brigade: A Pakistani Shiite Militia Amid the Syrian Conflict". Terrorism Monitor Volume.
  5. ^ a b c "Funeral Service for Seven Pakistani Militants Killed in Syria; Qom, Iran, Apr 2015". Konflictcam.
  6. ^ a b "Iran recruits Pakistani Shias for combat in Syria". The Express Tribune. 11 December 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Increasing Number Of Afghans, Pakistanis Killed In Syria Buried In Iran".
  8. ^ a b Misto, Mohamad; Emre Özcan, Ethem. "Iran boosting Yemeni Houthis with Syrian fighters: Local sources". Anadolu Agency. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  9. ^ "Kashmir – The New Battlefield For Saudi-Iran Proxy War – Israel Media Reports". 22 July 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  10. ^ "The Zainabiyoun Brigade". Farda News. 3 March 2016.
  11. ^ جهان|TABNAK, سایت خبری تحلیلی تابناك|اخبار ایران و. "پیکر ۵ شهید مدافع حرم در قم تشییع شد".CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Julius, Anthony (1 May 2015). Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England – via Google Books.
  13. ^ Michael, Robert; Rosen, Philip (1 May 2015). Dictionary of Antisemitism from the Earliest Times to the Present – via Google Books.
  14. ^ "Foreign Shiite combat fatalities in Syria and nationality since January 19, 2012." Ali Alfoneh. Twitter. 4 March 2019.
  15. ^ a b c d Wigger, Leo (26 September 2019). ""Why Pakistan holds a key in the Iranian-Saudi confrontation"". magazine.zenith.me. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  16. ^ "ایران کی زینبیون برگیڈ نے پاکستان میں بھرتی تیز کر دی".
  17. ^ Drums Of War: Israel And The "AXIS OF RESISTANCE" (PDF), International Crisis Group, 2 August 2010, archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016
  18. ^ "After ISIS, Fatemiyoun Vows to Fight with "Axis of Resistance" to Destroy Israel". Middle East Institute. Archived from the original on 16 July 2020. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  19. ^ "After ISIS, Fatemiyoun Vows to Fight with "Axis of Resistance" to Destroy Israel". Middle East Institute. Archived from the original on 16 July 2020. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  20. ^ a b c d Christoph Reuter. American Fury: The Truth About the Russian Deaths in Syria: Hundreds of Russian soldiers are alleged to have died in U.S. airstrikes at the beginning of February. Reporting by DER SPIEGEL shows that events were likely very different. Der Spiegel, 2 March 2018.
  21. ^ Will Fulton, Joseph Holliday, and Sam Wyer, Iranian Strategy in Syria Archived 2016-02-01 at the Wayback Machine, Institute for the Study of War, May 2013
  22. ^ "Kashmir – The New Battlefield For Saudi-Iran Proxy War – Israel Media Reports". 22 July 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  23. ^ Kajjo, Sirwan (25 August 2016). "Who are the Turkey backed Syrian Rebels?". Voice of America. Archived from the original on 19 February 2017. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  24. ^ a b Mehdi Hussain (13 December 2015). "At least 23 killed, 30 injured in Parachinar blast". The Express Tribune.
  25. ^ "Kashmir – The New Battlefield For Saudi-Iran Proxy War – Israel Media Reports". 22 July 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2021.
  26. ^ Says, Motorhead (28 October 2016). "IRGC commander killed on eve of Aleppo battle | FDD's Long War Journal". www.longwarjournal.org.
  27. ^ "Array of pro-Syrian government forces advances in Aleppo | FDD's Long War Journal". www.longwarjournal.org. 9 December 2016.
  28. ^ Truzman, Joe (14 February 2020). "IRGC trained militias suffer losses in northwest Syria". Long War Journal. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  29. ^ "Liwa Zainebiyoun".
  30. ^ "Foreign Shiite combat fatalities in Syria and nationality since January 19, 2012." Ali Alfoneh. Twitter. 4 March 2019.
  31. ^ "The Zainabiyoun Brigade: A Pakistani Shiite Militia Amid the Syrian Conflict". Jamestown.
  32. ^ "Iran Tightens Its Grip On Syria Using Syrian And Foreign Forces". MEMRI. 5 May 2015.
  33. ^ "The Zainabiyoun Brigade". Farda News. 3 March 2016.
  34. ^ جهان|TABNAK, سایت خبری تحلیلی تابناك|اخبار ایران و. "پیکر ۵ شهید مدافع حرم در قم تشییع شد".CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)