A Few Notes on Shi’ism in Syria and the Emergence of a Pro-Asad Shi’i Militia, Liwa’ Abu’l Fadl al-‘Abbas (Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-‘Abbas)

Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas martyr  كرار عبد ألامير أبو أسدLiwa’ Abu al-Fadl al-‘Abbas “martyr” Karrar ‘Abd al-Amir Abu Asad: “We’re [all] Your ‘Abbas, O’ [Sayyida] Zaynab

-By Christopher Anzalone (Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University)

July 26, 2013: Read my article, “Zaynab’s Guardians: The Emergence of Shi’a Militias in Syria,” CTC Sentinel (July 2013)  HERE.

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UPDATED MAY 22

A few initial notes/observations about Shi’i historical presence in Syria and the emergence of a pro-Syrian government militia, Liwa’ Abu’l Fadl al-‘Abbas (Brigade of Abu’l Fadl al-‘Abbas/Abu al-Fadl al-‘Abbas; Liwa’ Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas)  in Syria:

(1) It is clear that the Iranian government has an interest on the part of the Iranian government and its regional allies in expanding their sphere(s) of influence in the Middle East and North Africa and the wider world, particularly in Muslim-majority countries and among Muslim communities, Shi’i and Sunni.  While recognizing this desire and organizational, economic, and military support from the Iranian government to allied groups in countries such as Iraq, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria, it is important to also understand the goals of these local actors in accepting such support.

Iranian government missionary activity and the emergence of Qum as the premier location of Twelver Shi’i religious education following the expulsion of foreign students and intensification of Iraqi Ba’th targeting of the Shi’i religious leadership and political activists in the late 1970s has allowed the Iranian government to expand its influence to other parts of the Middle East and North Africa as well as to Western Europe, West Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Southeast Asia.  It is important to recognize, however, that the Iranian government’s goals are not shared by all Twelver Shi’is and the claimed religious authority of ‘Ali Khamenei is not universally recognized.  Critiques of the late Grand Ayatullah Ruhollah Khumayni’s conception of wilayat al-faqih emerged the very year of Iran’s Revolution and have continued to be written to the present day.  The politics of Iranian government attempts to expand its sphere of influence and the local factors aiding and hindering such expansion are complex and should be considered in any analysis of Twelver Shi’i communities and political activism.

Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas 1A photograph showing members of Liwa Abu’l Fadl al-‘Abbas with men who appear to have been performing one of the mourning rituals involving bloodletting during the Muharram mourning for Imam Husayn and his party.  Not all Twelver Shi’is perform these rituals and Shi’i mujtahids have taken different positions on the permissibility of such rituals.  Some have noted that none of the Twelve Imams, according to Shi’i tradition, performed such rituals, even in mourning for the Ahl al-Bayt.  The rituals are particularly popular among segments of the South Asian, Iraqi, and Afghan Twelver Shi’i communities as well as followers of the Lebanese AMAL party and adherents (Shiraziyyin) to the Shirazi family of religious scholars, a member of whom founded Damascus’ Zaynabiyya seminary (hawza).

(2) Individual motivations for joining groups such as Liwa’ Abu’l Fadl al-‘Abbas may differ from the reasons the Iranian government or other state or powerful non/quasi-state actors have for supporting, organizing, or backing such groups.  As Thomas Hegghammer has noted in his studies of the Muslim foreign fighter phenomenon, it is often very difficult to know exactly what the motivations were for specific individuals in becoming a “foreign fighter” since martyr biographies and accounts (martyrologies) released after their deaths often address/justify their decision and involvement in certain conflicts after the fact.  Thus, they are not always reliable in understanding the actual motivations, outside of hagiographical narratives.  There may (and in my opinion, likely are) personalized pietistic reasons (from the viewpoint of volunteers/recruits) at play in the decision of at least some of the individual Shi’is fighting under the Liwa’ Abu’l Fadl al-‘Abbas banner.

Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas (Ali in bullets)“[Imam] ‘Ali”

(3) It’s very important to note the deep-rooted reverence and love Twelver Shi’is have for Zaynab bint ‘Ali (Sayyida Zaynab), which, in my view, almost certainly has played a role in motivating at least some of the individuals who have traveled to Syria to, as they see it, defend her shrine and other important Shi’i shrines from destruction and desecration by some of the Syrian rebel groups.

Among her roles in Shi’i tradition, Zaynab is believed to have been one of the main reasons that the message of Husayn (Hussein, Hussain), the third Shi’i Imam, and thus Islam (according to the Shi’i point of view) was preserved even after his martyrdom at the hands of the Umayyad army of Yazid bin Mu’awiya.  Her defiant speech in front of the Umayyad caliph himself is particularly heralded in the Shi’i tradition, particularly during the annual Muharram rituals of ‘Ashura, which commemorate the death of Imam Husayn and many of his small party (including his half brother, al-‘Abbas, whose honorific “Abu al-Fadl”/”father of” denotes his eldest son, Fadl.)  His mother, Fatima bint Hizam al-Kilabiyya, was one of Imam ‘Ali ibn Talib’s wives and, according to Shi’i tradition, raised his sons by Fatima al-Zahra/Fatima bint Muhammad (the Prophet) as if they were her own.  Al-‘Abbas, to Shi’is, is one of the heroes of Karbala, of whom portraits are painted and nasheeds and mourning recitations (latmiyas) recited during Muharram.

Sayyida ZaynabSayyida Zaynab bint ‘Ali

(3) The neighborhood around Sayyida Zaynab’s shrine in Damascus has long been a center for a community of Twelver Shi’is and popular devotees to the Ahl al-Bayt (the Prophet Muhammad’s family), both residential and scholastic (it’s been the site of a seminary, the Zaynabiyya, affiliated with the Shirazi family of scholars since the 1970s) as well as a center of Shi’i pilgrimage. Shi’i shrines, however, are also located in other areas of the city, such as that of Ruqaya bint ‘Husayn and Sukaina bint Husayn.  These shrines have benefited from Iranian and Syrian governmental funding of restoration and expansion projects, but their importance as local holy sites and the sites of pilgrimage for the region’s Shi’is predates the advent of Iran’s “Islamic Republic.”   These sites, however, have benefited from state patronage, which helped them become fully integrated as regular stops for Shi’i pilgrims from abroad (at least before the start of the uprising against Bashar al-Asad).  Before the Syrian civil war, it and other important shrines in Damascus were regular sites of Shi’i pilgrimage, often as part of pilgrimage (ziyarat) trips that also visited Shi’i shrines in Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

Iranian and Syrian state support and promotion of the Syrian Shi’i shrines in the 1980s was a part of both countries’ shared opposition to the Iraqi Ba’th government, which had imposed itself on the Shi’i shrines in Iraq, going as far as to appoint its own officials to “supervise” the sites in cities such as Najaf, Karbala, and Kufa.  Similarly, the Zaynabiyya hawza benefited from an influx of seminary students, including a number of Afghan Hazara Shi’is, from neighboring Iraq expelled by Saddam in the second half of the 1970s.

Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas (Wahhabis)“We’re coming, O’ Zaynab…Thirsty for blood of the Wahhabis (al-wahhabiyya)…BANNER: We Heed Your Call/are at your service, O’ Zaynab,” denoting the Salafi foes that, according to the few available sources, Liwa’ Abu’l Fadl al-‘Abbas see themselves as fighting.  Pro-Brigade Facebook pages and Internet postings often include photographs of killed “Wahhabis” and members, the sites claim, of puritanical Salafi rebel groups such as the Al-Qa’ida in the Land of the Two Rivers (Iraq)-connected Jabhat al-Nusra.

Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas“We Heed Your Call/are at Your Service. O’ Asad”

(4) Shi’i presence and shrines have existed in Syria, including in the north, from much earlier periods.  Many of the Sunni rulers during the medieval period also had pro-‘Alid inclinations even if they themselves were not Shi’is.

(5) Syrian Sunnis (or some of them) also revere these figures. Salafis, due to their iconoclasm, oppose such shrines to varying degrees, the most extreme being actively targeting them for destruction.

(6) Some individual members and supporters are likely swayed by the claimed “axis of resistance” image heralded by the Iranian and Syrian governments as well as Hizbullah in Lebanon.  According to this worldview, support for the besieged Syrian government is a way of resisting what is seen as U.S. hegemony in the region and the broader world.

Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas (Hasan Nasrallah & Bashar al-Asad)An Internet poster from a pro-Liwa’ Abu’l Fadl al-‘Abbas Facebook page showing Hizbullah’s secretary-general Hasan Nasrallah (right) and Syrian president Bashar al-Asad.  The photograph of Nasrallah was taken after the 2006 Hizbullah-Israel war and has clearly been edited to show light emanating from the book (presumably the Qur’an).  The same is true of the posed image of al-Asad.  Both are shown by the designer as pious (thus, presumably, deserving of support).

(7) The membership (and death) of a number of Iraqi Shi’is with Liwa’ Abu’l Fadl al-‘Abbas in Syria may have much to do with both the presence prior to the civil war of a large Iraqi expatriate community and contention in Iraq over who truly represents the legacy of the late grand mujtahid Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr.  Though one of his sons, Muqtada, leads what can be termed the “mainstream” Sadrist trend (Tayyar al-Sadr, al-Sadriyyun), which is composed of political, social, and paramilitary branches, he faces competitors from among those who studied or claimed to have studied (and excelled) with this father in the seminary.  These include movements with varying degrees of messianist outlook such as that led by Mahmoud al-Hasani as well as individuals widely considered (or who consider themselves) mujtahids or grand mujtahids such as Kazim Ha’iri and Muhammad al-Ya’qubi.

Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas (Qays al-Khaz'ali, Qais Khazali), Ali Khamenei, & Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr“Lion of the League [of the Righteous], Yahya Sarmud Muhammad al-Fayli,” pictured with the late Iraqi mujtahid Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr (top left), Iran’s supreme leader (rahbar) ‘Ali Khamenei (top right), and ‘Asa’ib Ahl al-Haqq secretary-general Qays al-Khaz’ali/Qais Khazali (bottom right).

Others, such as Qays al-Khaz’ali (leader of the Iraqi Shi’i militia ‘Asa’ib Ahl al-Haqq/League of the Righteous, which is believed to enjoy Iranian state support), have donned the turban (‘amama) in a bid for religious scholarly legitimacy, despite often questionable education credentials.  Though a number of the pro-Liwa’ Abu’l Fadl al-‘Abbas videos, many which appear to have been made and uploaded by “fans,” include photographs of Muqtada, it is possible that intra-Sadrist (using the term “Sadrist” to refer very broadly to a number of different movements claiming at least part of their legitimacy from the contested legacy of the late Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, who is considered a martyr at the hands of the Iraqi Ba’th, who assassinated him and two of his sons in February 1999) is also at play in the organizing of volunteers/recruits to fight in Syria.

Qays Khaz'aliQays al-Khaz’ali (seated to the right) in front of a picture of the man whose legacy he claims to be upholding, Grand Ayatullah Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr.

Qays al-Khaz'ali (Facebook)“His eminence, the Shaykh Qays al-Khaz’ali, the general-secretary of the Islamic Movement of the Righteous [People of Truth].”

Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas (Hasan Nasrallah, Ali Khamenei, Qays Khazali)Liwa’ Abu al-Fadl al-‘Abbas martyr Karrar ‘Abd al-Amir Abu Asad (lower left) pictured with Iran’s supreme leader (rahbar) ‘Ali Khamenei (top), Hizbullah’s secretary-general Hasan Nasrallah (right), and ‘Asa’ib Ahl al-Haqq secretary-general Qays al-Khaz’ali (far right).  There is also part of a verse (13) from the Qur’an, chapter (surah) al-Saff (The Ranks): “Help from God and victory is near.”

Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas 2 (Surah al-Kahf)Liwa’ Abu al-Fadl al-‘Abbas martyr Karrar ‘Abd al-Amir Abu Asad (lower left and right) pictured with the logo of ‘Asa’ib Ahl al-Haqq, which includes a part of a verse (13) from the Qur’an, chapter (surah) al-Kahf (The Cave), which reads: “Lo, they were young men who believed in their Lord and We [God] increased them in guidance! [We/God guided them].”

Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas martyr Muthanna Ubays Khafif‘Asa’ib Ahl al-Haqq “joyful martyr” (al-shahid al-sa’id) Muthanna ‘Ubays Khafif (right) pictured alongside ‘Ali Khamenei.  Khafif is listed as having “self-sacrificed” (istishhad) in defense of the holy places (al-muqaddasat) on May 15, 2013.

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Given my research focus on martyrdom, the study of political Islam, and Shi’ism in the contemporary period, I hope to write more in both the near future on these topics as well as, probably, down the road for my dissertation.

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Salafis Consolidate Power in Syria

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While many focus on the fighting between rebel forces and the Assad regime as well as rightfully the continuing humanitarian tragedy that is wrecking havoc on the daily lives of many Syrians, there have been key organizational changes behind the scenes within the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF). The SIF is a Salafi-jihadi conglomeration of brigades that banded together to create an umbrella organization in late December 2012. After its formation, the combined force of the SIF has become one of the key rebel factions in the battle against the Assad regime. The consolidation of the SIF’s power through mergers and acquisitions will help solidify its growing role in the opposition as a force that has reach throughout the country and is united unlike many other rebel factions that have fractured over time.

The SIF is an organization that calls for an Islamic state and the implementation of sharia based on its Salafi creed after the fall of the Assad regime. In addition, to playing an increasingly important role on the battlefield, the SIF has also been involved in some social welfare through its relief committee where they distribute aid from the Humanitarian Relief Fund (IHH), a government-linked Turkish NGO with ties to Hamas, and Qatar Charity, another government-linked NGO. Their charter has also gotten the stamp of approval from the Syrian jihadi ideologue Shaykh Abu Basir al-Tartusi, who is allegedly affiliated with the SIF. Tartusi also recently spoke with al-Hiwar Channel explaining he was helping advise the creation of sharia courts in “liberated” areas of Syria.

When the SIF was first announced it was made up of eleven brigades, including Kata’ib Ahrar al-Sham (which operates throughout Syria), Harakat al-Fajr al-Islamiyyah (which operates in and around Aleppo), Kata’ib Ansar al-Sham (in and around Latakia), Liwa’ al-Haqq (in Homs), Jaysh al-Tawhid (in Deir al-Zour), Jama’at al-Tali’ah al-Islamiyyah (in rural parts of Idlib), Katibat Mus’ab bin ‘Umayr (in rural parts of Aleppo), and the Damascus-area groups Liwa’ Suqur al-Islam, Kata’ib al-Iman al-Muqatilah, Saraya al-Maham al-Khasa, and Katibat al-Hamzah bin ‘Abd al-Mutalib. It has since shrunk through two larger-scale mergers among some of the eleven brigades and one acquisition from outside its fold. This has helped strengthen the organization through the consolidation of ties and centralization of authority.

First, on January 31, three of the groups (Harakat al-Fajr al-Islamiyyah, Jama’at al-Tali’ah al-Islamiyyah, and Kata’ib al-Iman al-Muqatilah) merged into Kata’ib Ahrar al-Sham (KAS). The four now go under the name Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyyah (HASI). This move can be seen as a victory for KAS’ hardliners, over elements in the group that wanted to join the Supreme Military Council (SMC), an armed affiliate of the U.S.-supported National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SOC) because groups that merged like Harakat al-Fajr al-Islamiyyah are seen as more radical. Further indication that rumors of KAS joining the SMC has likely been quashed, the SIF released a statement on February 6 rejecting the SOC president Mu’az al-Khatib’s recent call for talks with the Assad regime.

Second, on February 2, Damascus-based groups Liwa’ Suqur al-Islam, Saraya al-Maham al-Khasa, and Katibat al-Hamzah bin ‘Abd al-Mutalib joined together to become Kata’ib al-Hamzah bin ‘Abd al-Mutalib. Prior to this formation, they had little to no battle record posted online, suggesting were not key players on the ground. It is possible that they joined forces better position themselves on the ground. Since then, the SIF has posted some attacks from this new formation, potentially signifying that the merger was a precursor to a more active plan going forward. The SIF might have also encouraged this due to a new offensive planned by rebel forces in Damascus and its countryside dubbed “Support for Daraya.”

Lastly, on February 5, the Hama-based fighting group Liwa’ al-Iman, which has an online footprint going back to late September 2012, left the Syrian Liberation Front (SLF), an Ikhwani and Salafi umbrella group, and joined HASI within the SIF. This solidifies the SIF’s foothold in Hama since none of the original eleven were based there. It also highlights the strength the SIF is projecting to other rebel forces in contrast to the non-unified SLF, which is viewed as unorganized with a lack of coordination because of the number of large players like Suqur al-Sham and Kata’ib al-Faruq.

As a result of the consolidation, the SIF now stands at six fighting forces. These maneuvers over the past week have helped solidify its organization. It would not be surprising if other mergers and acquisitions occur in the near term because of their prowess on the battlefield as well as their ability to be organizationally disciplined and unified. More than anything, the actions of the SIF illustrate that they are planning for the long-term and will continue to play a key role in the fight against the Assad regime and attempting to shape the post-Assad state of play.

The Syrian Islamic Front’s Order of Battle

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The second half of 2012 saw the radicalization of the Syrian rebel opposition. What started as a mainly secular force with the creation of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) slowly fragmented into Islamist cleavages with groups like Suqur al-Sham, Kata’ib Ahrar al-Sham, Jabhat al-Nusra, among others fighting independently outside the banner of the FSA. While much due attention has been given to Jabhat al-Nusra, which was designated as a terrorist organization by the United States in early December, little has been discussed on another popular Salafi-jihadi group: Kata’ib Ahrar al-Sham (KAS). On December 21, it announced the creation of a new fighting force that brought together small jihadi factions under the banner of the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF).

In the statement and video message the SIF released, which was read out by its official spokesman Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Suri, it proclaimed that it followed the way of the salaf (pious predecessor – Muhammad, his companions, and the two generations afterward), planned to topple the Assad regime and its allies, and then institute its interpretation of sharia, which it believes will be just. The post-Assad institutions according to al-Suri would include political, da’wa (Islamic advocacy), cultural education, and humanitarian relief structures.

The new front is made up of the following fighting forces: Kata’ib Ahrar al-Sham in all the Syrian provinces, Liwa’ al-Haqq in Homs; Harakat al-Fajr al-Islamiyyah in Aleppo and rural areas; Jama’at al-Tali’ah al-Islamiyyah in the rural areas of Idlib; Kata’ib Ansar ash-Sham in Ladhakiya and its rural areas; Katibat Mus’ab bin ‘Umayr in the rural areas of Aleppo; Jaysh at-Tawhid in Dayr al-Zur; Katibat Suqur al-Islam; Kata’ib al-Iman al-Muqatilah; Saraya al-Maham al-Khasa; and Katibat Hamzah bin ‘Abd al-Mutalib in Damascus and its rural areas.

At the end of the statement, SIF emphasizes that it is open to other Islamist organizations joining their cause. Afterward, the video announcement continued by showing their fighters in action in Damascus, Homs, Hama, Idlib, Aleppo, and Deir al-Zour, among other places. Since then SIF along with Jabhat al-Nusra has been at the forefront of some of the key battles including the recent one at the Taftanaz airport.

In the latter half of the video, SIF shows off its humanitarian relief efforts by paving new or clearing old road ways, baking bread for the needy (which is exceedingly becoming many in some areas due to the brutality of the Assad regime and lack of local capabilities) as well as other food like corn, candy, and chips. In other soft power efforts, the SIF has also held Qur’anic recitation contests for children. The video also highlights who helps fund these efforts: the SIF is getting the aid from Turkey and Qatar, more specifically, the government-linked NGOs of the IHH (which has links to the American designated terrorist organization HAMAS) and the Qatar Charity Organization.

Below you will find the order of battle for the Syrian Islamic Front:

Syrian Islamic Front:

Kata’ib Ahrar al-Sham

Damascus and Its Countryside
Katibat Jund ash-Sham (كـتـيـبـة جند الشام)
al-Zubayr bin al-‘Awam (الزبير بن العوام)
Katibat Fajr ash-Sham (كتيبة فجر الشام)
Katibat Fajr al-Islam (كــتــيبة فجر الإسلام)
Katibat Hadhifah bin al-Iman (كتيبة حذيفة بن اليمان)
Katibat Zayd bin Thabit (كتيبة زيد بن ثابت)
Katibat ‘Abd Allah bin Salam (كتيبة عبد الله بن سلام)
Katibat Muhammad bin Muslimah (كتيبة محمد بن مسلمة)

The Coast
Katibat Nusur al-Sahil (كتيبة نسور الساحل)
Katibat ‘Abadah al-Samit (كتيبة عبادة بن الصامت)
Katibat Nusrah al-Madhlum (كتيبة نصرة المظلوم)
Katibat Ibn Taymiyyah (كتيبة ابن تيمية)

Aleppo and Its Countryside
Katibat al-Shuhaba’ (كتيبة الشـــــــــــهباء)
Katibat Ansar al-Haqq (كتيبة أنصار الحق)
Katibat Burj al-Islam (كتيبة برج الإسلام)
‘Amar bin Yasir (عمار بن ياسر)
Katibat Hasan bin Thabit (كتيبة حسان بن ثابت)

Liwa’ al-Iman
Katibat Abu al-Fida’ (كتيبة أبي الفداء)
Katibat Salah ad-Din (كتيبة صلاح الدين)
Katibat Abu ‘Ubaydah ‘Amar bin al-Jarah (كتيبة أبو عبيدة عامر بن الجراح)
Katibat ‘Amad ad-Din Zanki (كتيبة عماد الدين زنكي)
Katibat al-Hamzah bin ‘Abd al-Mutalib (كتيبة الحمزة بن عبد المطلب)
Katibat al-Zubayr bin al-‘Awam (كتيبة الزبير بن العوام)
Katibat al-Bara’ bin ‘Azib (كتيبة البراء بن عازب)
Katibat Shuhada’ al-‘Arbayyin (كتيبة شهداء الأربعين)
Katibat al-Mulazim Awal Ra’id Muqalid (كتيبة الملازم أول رائد مقلد)
Katibat Tariq bin Zayad (كتيبة طارق بن زياد)
Katibat al-Fatihin (كتيبة الفاتحين)
Katibat Abna’ al-Islam (كتيبة أبناء الإسلام)
Katibat al-Furqan (كتيبة الفرقان)
Katibat al-Qa’qa’ (كتيبة القعقاع)

Homs and Its Countryside
Katibat Junud ar-Rahman (كتيبة جنود الرحمن)
Katibat al-Hamra’ (الكتيبة الحمراء)
Katibat Ansar al-Sunnah wa-l-Shari’ah (كتيبة أنصار السنة والشريعة)
Katibat ‘Adnan ‘Aqalah (كتيبة عدنان عقلة)
Katibat ‘Abad Allah (كتيبة عباد الله)

al-Ghab (Hama)
Katibat al-Sayyidah ‘A’ishah (كتيبة السيدة عائشة)
Katibat ‘Uthman bin ‘Afan (كتيبة عثمان بن عفان)
Katibat ‘Ali bin Abu Talib (كتيبة علي بن أبي طالب)
Ahrar Jiblah (أحرار جبلة)
Katibat ‘Umar bin Khatab (كتيبة عمر بن الخطاب)
Katibat Abu Bakr as-Sadiq (كتيبة أبو بكر الصديق)
Katibat Qawafil al-Shuhada’ (كتيبة قوافل الشهداء)
Katibat Ansar al-Haqq (كتيبة أنصار الحق)

Ariha and the Mountains
Katibat ‘Abad ar-Rahman (كتيبة عباد الرحمن)
Fuwaris al-Sunnah (فوارس السنّة)
Katibat Rijal Allah (كتيبة رجال الله)
Katibat Abu Dujanah (كتيبة أبو دجانة)
Katibat al-Sariyyat al-Jabal (كتيبة سارية الجبل)

Northern Idlib
Katibat Ajnad ash-Sham (كتيبة أجناد الشام)
Katibat Abu Talhah al-Ansari (كتيبة أبو طلحة الأنصاري)
Katibat Jabar bin ‘Abd Allah (كتيبة جابر بن عبد الله)
Katibat Sa’id bin Zayid (كتيبة سعيد بن زيد)
Katibat Sa’d bin Mu’az (كتيبة سعد بن معاذ)
Katibat Ahfad ‘Ali bin Abu Talib (كتيبة أحفاد علي بن أبي طالب)
Abu Darda’ (أبو الدرداء)
Ahbab al-Rasul (أحباب الرسول)
Katibat al-Khadra’ (الكتيبة الخضراء)

Southeastern Idlib
Katibat ‘Abd Allag bin ‘Umar (كتيبة عبد الله بن عمر)
Katibat al-Aqsa (كتيبة الأقصى)
Katibat al-Mujahidin (كتيبة المجاهدين)
Katibat at-Tawhid wa-l-Iman (كتيبة التوحيد والإيمان)
Bayyariq al-Islam (بيارق الإسلام)
Siham al-Layl (سهام الليل)
Katibat al-Husayn (كتيبة الحسين)
Katibat al-Qa’qa’ (كتيبة القعقاع)
Katibat al-Ansar (كتيبة الأنصار)
Katibat al-Ansar (كتيبة الفرقان)
Katibat al-Ahwaz (كتيبة الأحواز)
Katibat al-Riyyah al-Jinah (كتيبة رياح الجنّة)
Katibat Khalid bin al-Walid (كتيبة خالد بن الوليد)
al-Kharsa’ (الخرساء)
al-Murabitin ‘Ala ad-Din (المرابطين على الدين)
Katibat Hamzah Sayyid al-Shuhada’ (كتيبة حمزة سيد الشهداء)
Katibat al-Shahid Yusuf Yasin (كتيبة الشهيد يوسف ياسين)

Dara’a
Katibat al-Yarmuk (كتيبة اليرموك)

al-Jazirah (Northeastern Syria)
Katibat al-Miqdad bin al-Aswad (كتيبة المقداد بن الأسود)
Katibat Ahrar al-Jazirah (كتيبة أحرار الجزيرة)
Katibat Tal Hamis (كتيبة تل حميس)
Katibat al-Qadisiyyah (كتيبة القادسية)
Abu Muhajir (أبو مهاجر)
Musa bin Nasir (موسى بن نصير)
Katibat ‘Ali bin Abu Talib (كتيبة علي بن أبي طالب)

Harakat al-Fajr al-Islamiyyah

Aleppo
Katibat Sayyuf al-Sunnah (كتيبة سيوف السنة)
Katibat Abu al-Zubayr (كتيبة أبو الزبير)
Katibat Jund ar-Rahman (كتيبة جند الرحمن)
Katibat al-‘Abas (كتيبة العباس)
Sarayah Hudhayfah bin al-Yaman (سرية حذيفة بن اليمان)
Katibat Zayat al-Haq (كتيبة رايات الحق)

Northern Aleppo Countryside
Katibat Abu Hudhayfah (كتيبة أبو حذيفة)
Katibat Dhia’ al-Islam (كتيبة ضياء الإسلام)
Katibat al-Alqsa (كتيبة الأقصى)
Sarayah Abu ‘Abd Allah Li-l-Maham al-Khasah (سرية أبو عبدالله للمهام الخاصة)

Eastern Aleppo Countryside
Tajama’a Jund al-Islam (تجمع جند الإسلام)

Western Aleppo Countryside
Katibat Abu al-Islam (كتيبة أبو إسلام)
Katibat Nusibah al-Ansariyyah (كتيبة نُسيبة الأنصارية)
Katibat Abu Hasan (كتيبة أبو الحسن)
Katibat ‘Az ash-Sham (كتيبة عزّ الشام)

Rural Idlib
Katibat al-Bara’ bin Malik (كتيبة البراء بن مالك)
Katibat Suqur al-Sunnah (كتيبة صقور السنّة)
Katibat Sayuf Allah (كتيبة سيوف الله)
Katibat Rijal al-Haq (كتيبة رجال الحق)

Ansar ash-Sham

Ladhakiyyah
Katibat Zayid bin Harith (كتيبة زيد بن حارثة)
Katibat Suqur al-Ladhakiyyah (كتيبة صقور اللاذقية)
Katiat Asad al-Sunnah (كتيبة أسد السنة)
Katibat Sayyuf al-Islam (كتيبة سيف الاسلام)
Katibat Salah ad-Din (كتيبة صلاح الدين)
Katibat at-Tawhid (كتيبة التوحـيـد)
Katibat al-Qawat al-Khasah (كتيبة القوات الخاصة)
Katibat al-Shuhada’ (كتيبة الشهداء)
Katibat Jawhar al-Dudayyif (كتيبة جوهر دودايف)
Katibat Ahfad Muhammad al-Fatih (كتيبة أحفاد محمد الفاتح)
Katibat Abu ‘Ubaydah al-Jarah (كتيبة ابو عبيدة الجراح)

Jisr al-Shughur
Katibat ‘Umar bin Khatab (كتيبة عمر بن الخطاب)

Idlib
Katibat ‘A’ishah Um al-Mu’minin (كتيبة عائشة أم المؤمنين)
Katibat Mus’ab bin ‘Amir (كتيبة مصعب بن عمي)

Rural Aleppo
Katibat Saraya al-Majad (كتيبة سرايا المجد)

Liwa’ al-Haqq

Katibat al-Saqiq (كتيبة الصديق)
Katibat al-Furati (كتيبة الفراتي)
Katibat al-Huda (كتيبة الهدى)
Katibat al-Nasir Li-Din Allah (كتيبة الناصر لدين الله)
Katibat Siba’ al-Bar (كتيبة سباع البر)
Katibat Shuhada’ Baba ‘Umru (كتيبة شهداء بابا عمرو)
Katibat Atba’ al-Rasul (كتيبة أتباع الرسول)
Katibat al-Ansar (كتيبة الأنصار)
Katibat al-Bara’ (كتائب البراء)
Katibat al-Bara’ bin Malik (كتيبة البراء بن مالك)

Jaysh at-Tawhid

Liwa’ Tariq bin Zayad (لواء طارق بن زياد)
Katibat Abu Qasim (كتيبة أبو القاسم)
Katibat Ahbab al-Mustafa (كتيبة أحباب المصطفى)
Katibat Yazid bin Ma’wayah (كتيبة يزيد بن معاوية)
Katibat ‘A’ishah Um al-Mu’minin (كتيبة عائـــشة أم المؤمنين)
Katibat al-Rahbah (كتيبة الرحبة)
Liwa’ al-Mansur (لواء المنصور)

Jama’at al-Tali’ah al-Islamiyyah

Katibat Ahmad ‘Asaf (كتيبة أحمد عساف)
Katibat Shuhada’ (كتيبة شهداء)
Saraya Ahmad Yasin (سرية أحمد ياسين)
Katibat al-Sawarikh (كتيبة الصورايخ)
Katibat al-Ansar (كتيبة الأنصار في بنش)

Katibat Mus’ab bin ‘Umar

Suqur al-Islam

Kata’ib al-Iman al-Muqatilah

Katibat Hamzah bin ‘Abd al-Mutalib