Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades

The Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades (Arabic: ألوية أحفاد الرسول Al-wīat Aḥfād ar-Rasūl, "Grandsons of the Prophet Brigades") was a Syrian rebel group fighting against the Syrian government in the Syrian Civil War. It was funded by the Qatari government.[15][16]

Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades
ألوية أحفاد الرسول
Participant in Syrian civil war
Official logo of the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades
ActiveJuly 2012–early 2014 (defunct)[1]
IdeologySunni Islamism[2] Syrian nationalism (factions)
Leaders
Area of operationsSyria
Size7,000–9,000[9]
Part of
Allies
Opponent(s)
Battles and war(s)Syrian civil war

Structure and member groups

Its notable subgroups included the Justice Battalion, the Golan Martyrs Battalion, the Golan Hawks Battalion, the Falcons of Mount Zawiya Brigade,[4] and the Qalamoun Liberation Front.[17] By August 2013, the group had coopted some 50 groups from across Syria; however, it was strongest in Idlib Governorate.[7] Its leader, Colonel Ziad Haj Obaid, was on the Arms Committee of the Supreme Military Council.[4] The Allahu Akbar Brigade, based in al-Bukamal in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate, was also part of Ahfad al-Rasul. In July 2013, Al Jazeera reported that the Allahu Akbar Brigade consisted of around 800 fighters.[5]

History

On 11 October 2012, the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades, in coordination with Ansar al-Islam, conducted a bombing of Syrian military compounds west of the Umayyad Square in Damascus.[13]

In December 2012, the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades executed a Syrian Army officer on allegations of heresy. By this time, the group was described as a Salafist jihadist group independent from the Free Syrian Army.[3]

In July 2013, the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades, along with Ahrar al-Sham and the Kurdish Islamic Front, announced that they would fight alongside with al-Qaeda's al-Nusra Front against the People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria.[11]

In August 2013, clashes erupted between the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the city of Raqqa. On 13 August, ISIL suicide bombers detonated 4 car bombs at the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades' headquarters at the Raqqa train station, killing 6 Ahfad al-Rasul fighters, including two commanders, Abu Mazin[6] and Fahd al-Kajwan, and 6 civilians.[18] By the next day, ISIL fighters fully captured the headquarter.[19] Clashes also erupted in Tabqa.[18] By 17 August, ISIL had defeated Ahfad al-Rasul in Raqqa and expelled it from the city.[6][20] The fighting soon spread to the Deir ez-Zor Governorate, and tensions also rose between Ahfad al-Rasul and the al-Nusra Front. In November 2013, Saddam al-Jamal, commander of Ahfad al-Rasul's Allahu Akbar Brigade, defected to ISIL.[5] Following al-Jamal's defection, 4 subunits of Ahfad al-Rasul also defected to ISIL.[21]

By early 2014, the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades was described as defunct, with many subunits rebranding themselves as members of the Syrian Revolutionaries Front.[1] The Latakia Governorate-based Brigade of the Chargers, formerly part of Ahfad al-Rasul, received BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles in early 2014, and became the 1st Coastal Division in late 2014.[22] Reports appeared in early 2017 that possible remnants of the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades have reappeared as the Army of Grandsons in the northern Aleppo Governorate to fight ISIL as part of Operation Euphrates Shield.[23]

See also

References

  1. Aron Lund (14 February 2014). "Syria's Southern Spring Offensive". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  2. "Alwiya Ahfaad ar-Rasool: A Growing Force in the Syrian Armed Opposition | Fair Observer°". Fairobserver.com. 25 September 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  3. Brown Moses (31 December 2012). "Video Appears To Show A Syrian Army Soldier Executed By Ahfad al-Rasul Brigade For Heresy".
  4. O'Bagy, Elizabeth (24 March 2013). "The Free Syrian Army" (PDF). Institute for the Study of War. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  5. Basma Atassi (17 December 2013). "Syrian fighter defects to Qaeda-linked group". Al Jazeera English.
  6. Alice Martins (23 September 2013). "Watching Syrian Rebels Fight Among Themselves for the City of Raqqa". Vice.
  7. Lund, Aron (27 August 2013). "The Non-State Militant Landscape in Syria". CTC Sentinel. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  8. "The end of the rebel alliance?". Al Jazeera English. 15 September 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  9. "Syria crisis: Guide to armed and political opposition". BBC. 13 December 2013.
  10. "The new face of the Syrian rebellion". The Arab Chronicle. 5 March 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-04-25. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  11. Bill Roggio (26 July 2013). "Qatar-funded Syrian rebel brigade backs al Qaeda groups in Syria". Long War Journal.
  12. "Syrian Kurds' struggle for autonomy threatens rebel effort to oust Assad". New York Times. 26 July 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  13. "Bomb explosion hits security area of Damascus: activists". Reuters. 12 October 2012.
  14. Barak Barfi (18 December 2013). "The Fractious Politics of Syria's Kurds". The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
  15. "The Structure and Organization of the Syrian Opposition". Center for American Progress. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  16. Basma Atassi (16 December 2013). "Syrian fighter defects to Qaeda-linked group - Features". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  17. Sohaib Enjrainy (5 September 2013). "Syrian Christian Village Besieged by Jihadists". Al-Monitor. Archived from the original on 2013-09-10. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  18. "The death of the commander of the descendants of the Prophet and the civilians in the bombing that targeted the train station in Al-Raqqa". Aksalser. 14 August 2013.
  19. Alison Tahmizian Meuse (16 August 2013). "In Raqqa, Islamist Rebels Form a New Regime". Syria Deeply.
  20. ""The Grandfather of the Apostle" announces the end of its operations against the "State of Islam in Iraq and the Levant"". Aksalser. 17 August 2013.
  21. Bill Roggio (5 December 2013). "4 battalions from Qatar-backed Islamist brigade defect to wage 'armed jihadist struggle'". Long War Journal.
  22. "The CIA's TOW program: A list of rebel groups involved". Syria in Brief. 2 January 2018.
  23. "Коуди Роша on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
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