Ghuraba al-Sham

Ghuraba al-Sham (Arabic: غرباء الشام Ghurabā’ ash-Shām, "Strangers/Foreigners of the region of Syria") was a group of jihadists of Turkish and former Eastern bloc origin[1] who smuggled foreign fighters to Iraq, intervened in Lebanon during the 2007 Lebanon conflict,[6] and fought in Syria during the Syrian Civil War.[1] The group coordinated with Al-Nusra Front in clashes with the People's Protection Units in November 2012[8] and in January 2013.[9] The group apparently shut down or disappeared in 2014.

Ghuraba al-Sham
غرباء الشام
Participant in Iraq War, 2007 Lebanon conflict and Syrian Civil War
IdeologySunni Jihadism[1]
LeadersMahmud al-Aghasi (2003–2007)[2]
Area of operationsSyria
AlliesAl-Nusra Front[4]
Ahrar ash-Sham
Ahrar al-Jazeera[7]
Opponent(s)Syrian Armed Forces
People's Protection Units[8]
Battles and war(s)Syrian Civil War


The group was founded by Aleppo preacher Mahmud al-Aghasi, who was also known as Abu al-Qaqa. He was often accused by Syrian opposition parties of working for the Mukhabarat and during the 2007 Lebanon conflict he was known as the Godfather of Fatah al-Islam.[6] The group was widely believed by many Lebanese people to be smuggling fighters to Iraq during the Iraq War and later to the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp to help Fatah al-Islam under the alleged auspice of the Syrian government.[6] Abu al-Qaqa was killed in Aleppo by a former prisoner who was held by Americans during the Iraq War[2] on 28 September 2007.[6] Members of the group were recruited in Syria and sent to Iraq to fight during the Iraq War.[3]

See also


  1. "Jihadists eclipsing other rebels in Syria's Aleppo". Daily News Egypt. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  2. "Radical Syrian cleric 'shot dead'". BBC. 29 September 2007. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  3. "Syria's Islamic Movement and the Current Uprising: Political Acquiescence, Quietism, and Dissent". Jadaliyya. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  4. AFP (18 January 2013). "Raging clashes pit Syrian Kurds against jihadists". NOW. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  5. As-Safir (14 November 2012). "Kurds Caught in Crossfire In Northwest Syria Battle". Al Monitor. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  6. McGregor, Andrew (October 2007). "Controversial Syrian Preacher Abu al-Qaqa Gunned Down in Aleppo". Terrorism Focus. 4 (33). Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  7. Carl Drott (15 May 2014). "Arab Tribes Split Between Kurds And Jihadists". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  8. "Jihadist rebels in standoff with Syria Kurds: NGO". Al Arabiya. AFP/Reuters. 22 November 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  9. AFP/Reuters (18 January 2013). "Heavy casualties as huge blast hit Aleppo". Reuters and AFP. Archived from the original on 22 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
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