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Islamic Front
الجبهة الإسلامية
Participant in the Syrian civil war
File:Islamic Front (Syria) Logo.jpg
Official logo of the Islamic Front
Active 22 November 2013 - present
Ideology Islamism[1]
Leaders Ahmed Abu Issa[2]
Area of
operations
Syria
Strength 45,000 (Nov. 2013, estimate)[3]-
100,000 (Dec. 2013, estimate)[4]
Allies Al-Nusra Front
Opponents

Syria Free Syrian Army[5]

Syrian Armed Forces
Battles/wars Syrian civil war

The Islamic Front (Arabic language: ‏الجبهة الإسلامية‎, al-Jabhat al-Islāmiyyah) is a merger of seven rebel groups involved in the Syrian civil war[2] that was announced on 22 November 2013.[6] An anonymous spokesman for the group has stated that it will not have ties with the Syrian National Coalition,[7] though a member of the political bureau of the group, Ahmad Musa, has stated that he hopes for recognition from the Syrian National Council in cooperation for what he suggested "the Syrian people want. They want a revolution and not politics and foreign agendas."[8]

History

On 22 November, seven Islamist groups agreed to a pact that would dissolve the groups individually and lead to the formation of the Islamic Front. The groups are:

A Liwa al-Tawhid member said the old names "will disappear and the groups will now melt [sic] into the new merger. There will be no such thing as Liwa al-Tawhid." The head of the group's Consultative Council, Amad Essa al-Sheikh, said the group sought "a paradigm shift in the armed rebellion by closing ranks and mobilising them to become the real alternative to the dying regime." He added that the group would cooperate with what it called "loyal fighters" in the country, including the Free Syrian Army (FSA).[8] However on 3 December 2013 they withdrew from the command of the FSA and criticized its leadership.[5] On 6 December 2013 fighters from the Islamic Front seized several FSA bases and depots at the Bab al-Hawa crossing.[5] This has caused conflict between the two.[5]

The merger follows the death of Liwa al-Tawhid's military leader, Abdel Qader Saleh, from wounds a week earlier following an air strike in Aleppo where he was meeting other leaders.[1] A group member, Adil Fistok, said the merger planning was in the works for seven months; Fistok stated that "One of the major obstacles we faced was the lust for power by some leaders. But eventually everyone made concessions in order to make this project happen." According to him the primary challenge was a lack of money and weapons.[8] It has been estimated by Charles Lister of IHS Jane's that the total amount of fighters the Islamic Front has may number up to 45,000.[2] The group is also estimated to include 100,000 fighters; this estimate includes all of the fighters within the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front, the Syrian Islamic Front and other brigades.[4]

Objectives

The Islamic Front released it's charter on the Internet in late November 2013, outlining it's aims and objectives, although the document avoided providing a clear vision of the future.[11] The Islamic Front's charter rejects the concepts of representative democracy and secularism, instead seeking to establish an Islamic State ruled by a Majlis-ash-Shura and implementing Sharia law. It acknowledges the ethnic and religious minorities that live in Syria, while also welcoming the foreign fighters who have joined the Anti-Assad forces and rejecting non-military means of ending the civil war.[11]

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Syria Islamist rebel factions merge: Spokesman". AFP. 22 November 2013. http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/87213.aspx. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Leading Syrian rebel groups form new Islamic Front". BBC. 22 November 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-25053525. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  3. Richard Hall (22 November 2013). "Turning the tide? Six Syrian rebel groups join forces to counter rise of al-Qa'ida". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/turning-the-tide-six-syrian-rebel-groups-join-forces-to-counter-rise-of-alqaida-8957727.html. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "A cross-section of Islamist rebel forces in Syria". Al Monitor. 2 December 2013. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/security/2013/12/syria-map-islamic-forces.html. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Dziadosz, Alexander; Afanasieva, Dasha (7 December 2013). "Syrian Islamists seize Western-backed rebel bases: monitoring group". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/07/us-syria-crisis-fsa-idUSBRE9B607S20131207. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  6. "Six Islamist factions unite in largest Syria rebel merger". Reuters. 22 November 2013. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/22/us-syria-crisis-islamists-merger-idUSBRE9AL0I420131122. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  7. "Series of Syrian Muslim rebel brigades say they've unified under name of the 'Islamic Front'". Associated Press. 22 November 2013. http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Syrian+activists+least+rebels+have+died+battle+army+base/9199491/story.html. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Atassi, Basma (22 November 2013). "Major Syrian rebel groups join forces". Al Jazeera English. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/11/major-syrian-rebel-groups-join-forces-20131122141129975421.html. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Islamists forge Syria's rebel alliance". MSN NZ. 23 November 2013. http://news.msn.co.nz/worldnews/8759995/islamists-forge-syrias-rebel-alliance. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 "A Power Move by Syria's Rebel Forces". Institute for the Study of War. 22 November 2013. http://iswsyria.blogspot.com/2013/11/a-power-move-by-syrias-rebel-forces.html. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "New rebel alliance wants Syria as 'Islamic State'". AFP news agency. 26 November 2013. http://news.yahoo.com/rebel-alliance-wants-syria-islamic-state-213423892.html. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 

External links

  • I on Twitter (Arabic)
  • I on Facebook (Arabic)

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