Politics Magazine

List of Syrian Rebel Groups

Posted on the 09 October 2015 by Calvinthedog

Based on my notes. There are no moderate rebels. The Free Syrian Army are no more than 10% of the rebels and I don’t think that most Syrians like them all that much. As far as I can tell, all FSA fronts are now under the control of Al Nusra, or Al Qaeda. The rebels are pretty much Al Qaeda, Ahrar al Sham and ISIS and other jihadists of similar ilk, and really there is not much else. Everyone else who are not radical jihadists are working alongside of them or under their command.

Ahrar al-Sham – Jihadists whose main champion is Qatar, are more radical than Nusra and maintain limited operational ties with ISIS. This group is basically Al Qaeda. They are very close to Al-Nusra and some are now defecting to Nusra. Turkey is now boosting them more than Al Qaeda – this is Turkey’s favorite group in the conflict now. This is now the second largest rebel force in Syria after ISIS.

Ajnad Sham – Under Nusra command.

Al Nusra Front – Formerly part of FSA – split away.

Al Tawhid Brigade – Islamists, probably jihadists.

Al-Farooq Brigades – Work with Al Nusra.

Alwiyat al-Furqan (Al Furqan Brigades) – Jihadists. Islamist group active in Quneitra. It is headed by Majid al-Khatib, one of the youngest leaders of rebel war.

Faylaq al-Rahman (Legions of al Rahhman) – Jihadists. Active in Ghouta and the Qalamoun area. Working with the Army of Islam. Its name is derived from one of the 99 names of God in Islamic tradition. Several TOW missiles delivered to this group by the US ended up in the hands of DAESH. Its heavily Islamist logo helps explain why.

Faylaq al-Sham – Supposedly relative moderates, but they are under Nusra command.

Forqat al-Awwal As-Sahli (First Coastal Division) – Jihadists. Active in the eastern part of the region of Idlib in the north of the region of Latakia and Hama in the region. Past member of the “Brigades of Descendants of the Prophet”. Formally a branch of the Free Syrian Army, under Nusra command.

Forqat Fajr al-Islam – Jihadists. Active Group in the Daraa region. It is led by Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Hassan Salama.

Forqat Fajr al-Tawhid – Jihadists active in southern Syria. Includes several rebel groups including the “Brigade of the Banner of Islam.”

Forqat Salah al-Din (Saladdin Division) – Jihadists. Named after the great adversary of the Crusaders.

Harakat al-Nour al-Din Zenki – Jihadists. Named after a sultan of the region, a contemporary of Saladin and another great fighter against the Crusaders. One of the most powerful rebel groups in the region of Aleppo. In the past it was a member of the Islamist “Al Tawhid Brigade” and the “Army of Holy Warriors” and collaborated with “Islamic Front of Aleppo”. Supported by Saudi Arabia.

Islamic Caucasus Emirate (ICE) – Chechen jihadists based in the Caucasus. Some of them are fighting in Syria.

Islamic Front – Radical Islamists. Ahrar al-Sham is a major part of the Islamic Front.

Jabhat Ansar al-Islam (Partisans of Islam Front): Jihadists. Islamist brigade active in Quneitra and Daraa. This is the most radical Islamist group has been voluntarily equipped by the USA with TOW missiles; this group is also a member of the Council of Syrian Revolutionary Command.

Jaish al-Jihad (Army of Jihad) – Part of ISIS.

Jaish al-Mujahideen wal Ansar or JMWA (Army of Holy Warriors) – Jihadists. Coalition of Islamist groups in Aleppo area. Recently joined Al Nusra. 2,000 fighters. The group is composed of diverse nationalities. The Chechen rebel news agency Kavkaz Center says they are mujaheddin from the Caucasus Emirate, Russia, Ukraine, and Crimea and other CIS countries. Many veterans from other conflicts. Syrian rebels refer to them as “Turkish brothers”. One JMA battalion was composed of jihadists from western countries, including the US, the UK and Germany.

Jaysh al-Fateh (Army of Conquest) – Al Qaeda led coalition. Saudi Arabia and Turkey focusing their efforts on support for this group in 2015. The two groups that form the core of this group are Al Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham.

Jund al-Aqsa – Al Qaeda front. This is an extremely radical split from Nusra. They are huge in Idlib Province. They have been described as psychopathic ISIS sympathizers.

Junud al Sham – Led by a Chechen, cooperates with Nusra foreign fighter branches.

Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad (KTJ) – Uzbek Al Qaeda branch, Aleppo and Idlib Provinces.

Liwa ‘al-Jabal Suqour (Falcons of the Mountain Brigades) – Active in Idlib and Aleppo. Created and funded by Qatar. Formerly involved with the “Brigades of Descendants of the Prophet.” Jihadists.

Liwa ‘al-Moataz Billah (Moataz Billah Brigades) – Jihadists. This was one of the first groups of the Free Syrian Army trained in Daraa. It participated in the coalition of rebel groups called “Southern Front” and also collaborated with the rebel coalition called Gharfat Amaliyat Usood al-Harb. In May 2015, his boss was still Col. Khalid al-Nabulsi. Initially armed by the USA, it seems that they have reviewed their position as this former client has now been bombed by US and coalition war planes.

Liwa ‘al-Tawhid Junou (Tawhid Brigades of the South) – Jihadists. Created in the Daraa region. Its name comes from the concept of the oneness of God (tawhid) of the Islamic tradition.

Liwa ‘Shuhada al-Islam (Martyrs of Islam Brigades) – Jihadists in Daraya.

Liwa ‘Sultan Muad, Sultan Murat Tugayı (Sultan Murad Brigades) – Made up of fighters from Turkmenistan. Active in Aleppo province. This group has close relations with the Turkish security services. Turkish officers participate in their attacks. Supposedly jihadists.

Southern Front Coalition – Possibly an FSA group in southern Syria near the Israeli border, under Nusra command.

Sukur Al Ahab Brigades – In the Qalamoun Mountains. Under Al Nusra command.

Tajammu Alwiyat al-Omari (Brigades al Omari) – Jihadists. Its name comes from the mosque of the same name in Daraa (where it is active) which was an important symbol for the opposition in the first days of major events in 2011. This group was founded and is funded by Saudi Arabia. Its first leader, former Captain Qais al-Qahtaneh, was murdered by another rebel for personal reasons – this demonstrates once again the sense of democratic debate among these groups!

Turkistan Islamic Party – Uighur Al Qaeda.

Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade – Jihadists. Supported by Saudi Arabia and the US, most of this unit have now joined ISIS, taking with them the US missiles that had been generously given to them.

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