UAE lists groups in Syria as terrorists

UAE designated about 80 groups as terrorist groups. 25 of them operate in Syria. With a closer look, we can find that those 25 groups fall into three main categories:

  • Ahrar Al Sham and its affiliates, Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates (Qatari-backed, about 65% of the groups)
  • Qaeda and its affiliates
  • Pro-Assad Shia Militias (Two groups. Lebanon’s Hezbollah was not listed)

The detailed list with short clarifications:

  1. Ahrar AlSham Movement
  2. Omar bin AlKhattab Battalion (Ahrar Alsham Affiliated)
  3. Al Shayma’ (Ahrar Alsham Affiliated)
  4. Abdulla bin Mubarak Battalion (Ahrar Alsham Affiliated) 
  5. Sufian Althawri Battalion (Ahrar Alsham Affiliated) 
  6. Ibad Alrahman Batalion (Ahrar Alsham Affiliated)
  7. Abu Bakr Al Siddeeq Company (Ahrar Alsham Affiliated)
  8. Kawafel Alshuhada Battalion (Ahrar Alsham Affiliated)
  9. Abu Omar Battalion(Ahrar Alsham Affiliated)
  10. Shahba Battalion (Ahrar Alsham Affiliated)
  11. Tawheedn wl Ieman Battalion (Ahrar Alsham affiliated)
  12. Sariet AlJabal Battalion (Ahrar Alsham affiliated)
  13. Al Haq Battalion (Ahrar Alsham affiliated)
  14. Talha bin Obaid Allah Company  (Ahrar Alsham affiliated)
  15. Muslim Brotherhood
  16. Al-Tawhid Brigade (Ties with Muslim Brotherhood)
  17. Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS/ISIL)
  18. Al Nusra Front (Qaeda Affiliated)
  19. Alkhadraa Battalion (The green battalion) (Al Qaeda Affiliated)
  20. Abdulla Azzam Battalions (Qaeda Affiliated)
  21. Abu Zar Alghafari Battalion
  22. Ahrar Shummar Battalion
  23. Ka’ka’ Battalion
  24. ِAbu Fadl al-Abbas Brigade (pro-Assad)
  25. Ammar Bin Yasser Brigade (pro-Assad)


Shabiha abduct christian girls

Different Shabiha groups (armed pro-Assad militias) are trying to find new ways to fund themselves. The regime is not able to finance them and hence it allowed them to find ways to generate cash money. Their rely on criminal activities and running extortion networks and the ransoms from kidnapping.

In 2012 and 2013, Shabiha groups targeted mainly the uprising neighborhoods. By time, these sources started to dry because more areas went out of the regime’s control. The shabiha started to target neutral and pro-Assad neighborhoods. Apparently, they are targeting the christian community now, and once they realize it is not enough anymore, I believe they won’t hesitate to target other neutral or loyal communities, including the Alawite ones.

The piece below from All4Syria website and translated by The Syrian Observer:

“A number of cases of abduction of Christian girls have increased recently in the city of Homs, especially in the pro-regime neighborhoods. A member of the Reconciliation Committee, Father Michelle Numan, called on the authorities to reveal the fate of the abducted girls and uncover the fate of young Christians who were kidnapped, saying they were likely to have been abducted by the security forces.

The activists pointed out that the kidnappers usually ask the girls’ families to pay large sums of money to release their daughters, and that kidnappings have become one of the most important reasons for Christian families to leave the city of Homs, which is controlled by regime forces.”

I do not think their goal is to displace the christians, however, it is for financial reasons and nothing will stop them of doing that.


al-Nusra defeats Maarouf in NW Syria

Yesterday, and after five days of heavy clashes between al-Nusra Front (NF) and Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SRF), NF defeated SRF forces decisively. al-Nusra front has controlled all town in Jabal al-Zawieah, amongst them Dier Sunbul, the town of SRF commander Jamal Maarouf.

The last clashes between SRF and al-Nusra erupted after the defection of al-Bara’s Martyrs Brigade with its arms and weapons. The brigade joined al-Nusra and Maarouf claimed that the defected brigade should leave their weapons with SRF, and tried to seize them by force. Later, SRF shelled al-Bara town with mortars. al-Nusra Front with Jund al-Aqsa attacked SRF forces aiming to shove them out of Idlib province.

In fact, this is not the first clashed between SRF and NF. In mid July 2014, al-Nusra attacked Syria Revolutionaries Front’s militants in Jisr al-Shgor and Darkosh in Idlib. al-Nusra fighters were backed by fighters from Ahrar Al-sham at that time. A truce took place after mediation of islamist Shiekhs.

Other FSA groups and Islamists groups tried to mediate and formed “Mediation Forces”, like The 13th Division and Hazzm Movement. However, SRF was too weak and couldn’t contain the attack of NF. Some fighters of SRF defected during the battle and joined NF.

Today, al-Nusra agreed to a ceasefire under three conditions:

1- Forming a court headed by Saudi preacher Abdullah al-Moheisini. The court will be responsible to judge Maarouf and SRF.

2- The mediations forces should guarantee to bring Jamal Maarouf to the court within 24 hours of its formation.

2- Release the captives from both sides once Maarouf is brought to the court. Those who were engaged in fighting against NF will be handed over to the court.

The ceasefire started 2pm, November 1st, 2014.

In March 2014, an article on Foreign Policy described Jamal Maarouf as the “West’s best fighting chance against Syria’s Islamist armies

Pic source:

Jamal Maarouf

Background Information: 

– Jabal al-Zawieh (Mount Zawiya) consists of 36 towns and villages between Hama and Aleppo.

– The Syria Revolutionaries Front is an alliance formed in December 2013 by different Free Syrian Army brigades as a response to the Islamic Front merger and headed by Jamal Maarouf since then.