Designations and Sanctions Related to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and Its Predecessor Groups

In light of the recent booklet I wrote on Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, its transformation, and the question of its terrorism designation, I thought it would be worthwhile as a follow-up to share what the group, its predecessors, and individuals in it, or used to be in it, are currently designated/sanctioned for. From an organizational perspective, as one can see, it’s more complicated than being only taken off of the State Department’s FTO list. There’s also the Treasury Department’s SDGT list, plus the UN’s sanction’s list, which the US is legally bound to follow. Therefore, even if hypothetically Washington took the step to remove HTS from both its State and Treasury lists, legally the US would still have to follow the UN list, which we know HTS will not be removed from since Russia is on the Security Council. Plus, then there are the individuals that are designated separately, too.

Either way, I hope the below details are useful. And it should be noted that the descriptions related to the reasons why individuals are listed is from the original press release date of when they were designated. Thus, the information presented as such could be irrelevant today to their current circumstances or flat out wrong. That’s why at the bottom of each individual I noted their current status. Though some, I don’t know where or what they are up to now. So if anyone wants to fill in the ‘unknown’ gaps feel free to reach out.

As An Organization:

The State Department’s Foreign Terrorism Organization List

Jabhat al-Nusrah added on December 11, 2012 as an alias of al-Qaeda in Iraq

Jabhat al-Nusrah removed as an alias of al-Qaeda in Iraq and added as own designated organization with no connected alias on May 7, 2014

Jabhat Fatah al-Sham added on November 10, 2016 as an alias of Jabhat al-Nusrah

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham added on May 31, 2018 as an alias of Jabhat al-Nusrah

The Treasury Department’s Specially Designated Global Terrorists List

Jabhat al-Nusrah added on December 11, 2012 as an alias of al-Qaeda in Iraq

Jabhat al-Nusrah removed as an alias of al-Qaeda in Iraq and added as own designated organization with no connected alias on May 7, 2014

Jabhat Fatah al-Sham added on November 10, 2016 as an alias of Jabhat al-Nusrah

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham added on May 31, 2018 as an alias of Jabhat al-Nusrah

The State Department’s Entities of Particular Concern (EPC) – non-state actors that have engaged in particularly severe violations of religious freedom

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham added on December 7, 2020

United Nations Sanctions List

Jabhat al-Nusrah added on May 30, 2013 as an alias of al-Qaeda in Iraq

Jabhat al-Nusrah removed as an alias of al-Qaeda in Iraq and added as own designated organization with no connected alias on May 14, 2014

Jabhat Fatah al-Sham added on June 7, 2017 as an alias of Jabhat al-Nusrah

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham added on June 5, 2018 as an alias of Jabhat al-Nusrah

Individuals:

December 11, 2012:

Maysar Ali Musa Abdallah al-Juburi (Abu Mariya al-Qahtani)

Maysar Ali Musa Abdallah al-Juburi (al-Juburi) moved from Mosul, Iraq to Syria in late 2011 to exploit Syria’s more permissive security environment with the objectives of transferring al-Qa’ida’s ideology to Syria and forming likeminded terrorist groups. As of mid 2012, al-Juburi became the religious and military commander for al-Nusrah Front in eastern Syria and also operated a training camp for the network.  Al-Juburi is suspected of participating in a 2004 attack against a Coalition Forces checkpoint in Ninawa Province, Iraq.

Status: Senior Leader in HTS

Anas Hasan Khattab

As of mid 2012, Anas Hasan Khattab (Khattab) was involved with the formation of al-Nusrah Front for AQI.  He communicated periodically with AQI leadership to receive financial and material assistance and helped facilitate funding and weapons for al-Nusrah Front.  Khattab works closely with al-Qa’ida-linked facilitators to provide logistical support to al-Nusrah Front.

Status: Senior Leader in HTS

May 16, 2013:

Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani

Al-Jawlani is considered the leader of al-Nusrah. He has stated in videos that his ultimate goal is the overthrow of the Syrian regime and the institution of Islamist shari’a law throughout the country. Al-Jawlani was specifically tasked by al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) to carry out these objectives. Under al-Jawlani’s leadership, al-Nusrah Front has carried out multiple suicide attacks throughout Syria. These attacks have been primarily in Damascus but the group has targeted other areas of the country as well. Many of these attacks have killed innocent Syrian civilians. Al-Nusrah’s claimed operations since the group’s December 2012 designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization have included a January 26, 2013 suicide attack on a military base in Syria’s Quneitra Province, near the Golan Heights; a February 15, 2013 statement claiming responsibility for early February suicide attacks on regime targets in Damascus and the nearby town of al-Shadadi; and a March 20, 2013 statement claiming responsibility for two separate suicide attacks that targeted a bridge and bunker near the city of Homs on March 6, 2013.

Although al-Nusrah Front was formed by AQI in late 2011 as a front for AQI’s activities in Syria, recently al-Jawlani publicly pledged allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qa’ida’s leader.

Status: Leader of HTS

December 18, 2013:

Usamah Amin al-Shihabi

Al-Shihabi is an associate of FAI, a Lebanese-based militant group formed in 2006, whose ultimate goal is the institution of Islamist sharia law in the Palestinian refugee camps and the destruction of Israel, and at times has played a key leadership role in the organization. He has also recently been appointed head of Syria-based al-Nusrah Front’s Palestinian wing in Lebanon.

Status: Allegedly based in Lebanon

August 18, 2014:

Said Arif

Syria-based Algerian national Said Arif is wanted for arrest in France, and is the subject of an Interpol Red Notice. In October 2013, Arif fled house arrest in France, traveled to Syria, and joined the terrorist group al-Nusrah Front.

Arif is an Algerian army officer deserter, who traveled to Afghanistan in the 1990s, where he trained in al-Qa’ida camps with weapons and explosives. Arif is a long-time terrorist who was a suspect in the al-Qa’ida December 2000 plot to bomb the Strasbourg Christmas market.

In 2003, Arif was arrested and was put on trial in France with 25 others as part of the “Chechen Network.” The Chechen Network was accused of plotting to blow up the Eiffel Tower and conducting chemical attacks and attacks on malls and police stations in France. In 2006, Arif was convicted and sentenced for his role in these planned attacks. After his arrest, Arif publicly declared that al-Qa’ida was planning to attack an American military base in Spain using chemical weapons.

Status: Allegedly killed in late May 2015 as a leader of Jund al-Aqsa

August 22, 2014:

Abdul Mohsen Abdullah Ibrahim al-Sharikh

Al-Sharikh is a senior ANF leader and al-Qaida facilitator based in Syria.  He moved to Syria in the spring of 2013 with other al-Qaida fighters and joined ANF, later becoming one of its top strategists.  In this role, al-Sharikh has used social media posts to demonstrate his aspiration to target Americans and U.S. interests.   He is included on Saudi Arabia’s list of most wanted terrorists.

Prior to his work in Syria with ANF, al-Sharikh served in early 2013 as chief of al-Qaida’s Iran-based extremist and financial facilitation network before the return of already designated al-Qaida facilitator Yasin al-Suri to the position.  Al-Sharikh has also previously served al-Qaida as a key financial facilitator in Pakistan.

Status: Killed in Airstrike on October 18, 2015

Hamid Hamad Hamid Al-‘Ali

Al-‘Ali has raised tens of thousands of dollars to help ANF purchase weapons and supplies as well as directed donors in Kuwait to send financial and material support to the terrorist organization.  Al-‘A1i has traveled to Syria to deliver funds to ANF and used students in Kuwait to courier funds to the group.  Al-‘Ali has also facilitated the travel to Syria of individuals wishing to fight for ANF and provided these individuals with money to deliver to the terrorist organization.  Al-‘A1i has referred to himself as an “al-Qaida commando” and has raised money for ANF and al-Qaida.

Status: Allegedly based in Kuwait

September 24, 2014:

Nusret Imamovic

A Bosnian terrorist leader operating in Syria. After his arrival, Imamovic actively supported violent extremism, and is now believed to be fighting with al-Nusrah Front.

Status: Allegedly based in Idlib

August 5, 2015:

Sa’d bin Sa’d Muhammad Shariyan al-Ka’bi

As of early 2014, al-Ka’bi reported that he had set up donation campaigns in Qatar to aid with fundraising in response to a request from an ANF associate for money to purchase both weapons and food. In that same time period, an ANF official requested that al-Ka’bi act as an intermediary for collecting a ransom for a hostage being held by ANF, and al-Ka’bi worked to facilitate a ransom payment in exchange for the release of a hostage held by ANF.

In 2013, al-Ka’bi worked closely with U.S.- and UN-designated Kuwaiti ANF fundraiser Hamid Hamad Hamid al-‘Ali and received funding from him to support ANF. Since at least late 2012, al-Ka’bi has provided support to ANF in Syria.

Status: Allegedly based in Qatar

May 19, 2016:

Abdullah Hadi ‘Abd al-Rahman Fayhan Sharban al-‘Anizi

Treasury designated Kuwait-based Abdullah Hadi ‘Abd al-Rahman Fayhan Sharban al-‘Anizi (al-‘Anizi) for providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, al-Qaida in Afghanistan and al-Nusrah Front in Syria between late 2013 and late 2015.

Al-‘Anizi sent money for al-Qaida in early 2015.  In mid-2014, al-‘Anizi provided funding to support the movement of al-Qaida members from Pakistan.  In late 2013, he made plans to solicit funds from donors to help move al-Qaida extremists from Pakistan to Syria.  As of 2010, al-‘Anizi served as a communications conduit for al-Qaida senior leadership. 

In 2014, al-‘Anizi obtained money to support al-Nusrah Front and made arrangements to send funding to al-Nusrah Front in Syria.

Status: Allegedly based in Hawali, Kuwait

Abd al-Muhsin Zabin Mutib Naif al-Mutayri

Treasury designated Kuwait-based Abd al-Muhsin Zabin Mutib Naif al-Mutayri (al-Mutayri) for providing financial, material, or technological support for, and financial or other services to or in support of, al-Nusrah Front.

As of 2015, al-Mutayri was an al-Nusrah Front supporter in Kuwait who was collecting money for the group from other Gulf-based facilitators.  As of 2013, al-Mutayri worked with al-Nusrah Front facilitators to collect and deliver funds to the organization.  Between 2012 and 2013, he also provided funds to individuals traveling to join al-Nusrah Front in Syria.  Since 2012, al-Mutayri has provided funds to al-Nusrah Front, used charities to raise money for the terrorist organization, and worked with al-Nusrah Front facilitators to collect money to support the organization’s fighters in Syria. 

Status: Allegedly based in Kuwait

Mostafa Mahamed (Abu Sulayman al-Muhajir)

Treasury designated Syria-based Mostafa Mahamed (Mahamed) for acting for or on behalf of and providing financial support to al-Nusrah Front.

Mahamed occupies a senior leadership position in al-Nusrah Front and was subjected to targeted economic sanctions by his home country of Australia in August 2015.  Mahamed has recruited Australians to fight for al-Nusrah Front and has solicited funds to finance al-Nusrah Front’s terrorist activities.

Status: Based in Idlib, Not a Member of HTS

September 16, 2016:

Omar Diaby

Omar Diaby leads a group of French foreign terrorist fighters in Syria. The group of approximately 50 fighters has participated in terrorist operations alongside the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) group, al-Nusrah Front. Although assumed killed in August 2015, Diaby, re-emerged in May 2016, claiming his death was a ploy to allow him to travel to Turkey for an operation. Diaby came to the attention of French intelligence due to his involvement with a French extremist group and his online propaganda video series. Diaby’s videos have been credited as the chief reason behind why so many French nationals have joined militant groups in Syria and Iraq.

Status: Based in Idlib, Not a Member of HTS

November 10, 2016:

Abdallah Muhammad Bin-Sulayman al-Muhaysini

Abdallah Muhammad Bin-Sulayman al-Muhaysini was designated for acting for or on behalf of, and providing support and services to or in support of, al-Nusrah Front.

As of late 2015, al-Muhaysini was an accepted member of al-Nusrah Front’s inner leadership circle.  As of July 2015, Abdallah al-Muhaysini served as al-Nusrah Front’s religious advisor and represented al-Nusrah Front in an Idlib Province, Syria, military operations room.  He has been involved in recruiting fighters to join al-Nusrah Front and helping to form a new al-Nusrah Front “state” in northern Syria.  In April 2016, Muhaysini launched a campaign to recruit 3,000 child and teenage soldiers across northern Syria for al-Nusrah Front.

Al-Muhaysini has played a crucial role in providing financial aid to al-Nusrah Front.  Between 2013 and 2015, al-Muhaysini raised millions of dollars to support al-Nusrah Front governance efforts in Idlib Province, Syria.  As of early October 2015, al-Muhaysini had set up institutions providing financial aid to terrorist groups, including a highly successful campaign that he claimed had secured $5 million in donations to arm fighters. 

Status: Based in Idlib, Not a Member of HTS

Jamal Husayn Zayniyah

Jamal Husayn Zayniyah was designated for acting for or on behalf of al-Nusrah Front.

As of late 2015, Zayniyah was al-Nusrah Front’s emir of al-Qalamun, Syria and Lebanon.  As al-Nusrah Front’s emir of al-Qalamun, Zayniyah was responsible for planning operations in al-Qalamun and Lebanon.  Zayniyah was also responsible for al-Nusrah Front’s abduction of a group of Christian nuns in Ma’alula, Damascus Province, Syria.  As of mid-2015, Zayniyah had established himself as an intermediary for the negotiations over hostages, including 16 Lebanese soldiers, held by al-Nusrah Front.

Status: Unknown

Abdul Jashari (Shaykh Abu Qatada al-Albani)

Abdul Jashari was designated for acting for or on behalf of al-Nusrah Front.

Jashari is a Syria-based al-Nusrah Front military advisor who has also helped to raise funds for the families of al-Nusrah Front fighters.  During the summer of 2015, Jashari led al-Nusrah Front military operations in northern Syria.  Previously, during the summer of 2014, al-Nusrah Front emir and SDGT Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani appointed Jashari as leader of al-Nusrah Front’s military operations.

Status: Military Leader in HTS

Ashraf Ahmad Fari al-Allak

Ashraf Ahmad Fari al-Allak was designated for acting for or on behalf of al-Nusrah Front.

As of April 2016, al-Allak was an al-Nusrah Front military commander in Dara Province, Syria.  He has provided support to al-Nusrah Front military operations in southern Syria by mobilizing al-Nusrah Front fighters and weapons.  He has also served as the al-Nusrah Front emir of Saraya, Syria and Dara City, Syria.

Status: Unknown

February 23, 2017:

Iyad Nazmi Salih Khalil (Abu Julaybib al-Urduni)

Khalil was designated for acting for or on behalf of ANF. 

As of early 2016, Khalil was ANF’s third highest-ranking official and appointed as the group’s emir for Syria’s coastal area by ANF emir and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) Abu-Muhammad al-Jawlani (al-Jawlani).  As a senior ANF official, Khalil took part in discussions among the group’s senior leadership regarding ANF’s overall strategy and the feasibility of establishing an emirate in Idlib, Syria.

For at least two years prior to being appointed emir for Syria’s coastal area, Khalil served as ANF emir of Dar’a, Syria.  Under his leadership, he empowered ANF’s security and intelligence operatives responsible for assassinations, ran prisons notorious for torture, and encouraged the looting of vehicles and possessions of Free Syrian Army members.

Khalil was originally sent to Syria with six other individuals in 2011 by former al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) official and current ISIS leader and SDGT Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to establish what would eventually become ANF.  Prior to his involvement with ANF, Khalil joined AQI in the mid-2000s, and remained close to AQI’s former head Abu-Musa’b al-Zarqawi until Zarqawi’s death in 2006.

Status: Killed in Airstrike on December 29, 2018

Bassam Ahmad al-Hasri

Al-Hasri was designated for acting for or on behalf of ANF. 

As of June 2016, al-Hasri served as ANF’s emir of Dar’a, a position he took over from Khalil starting in December 2015 at the behest of al-Jawlani.  As emir of Dar’a, al-Hasri oversaw the group’s military operations in southern Syria.  Previously, al-Hasri served as a religious advisor for ANF.  Al-Hasri has longstanding ties to al-Qa’ida, and was released in 2011 by Syrian authorities after spending six years in prison for his association with the group.

Status: Unknown

March 14, 2017:

Muhammad Hadi al-`Anizi

Muhammad Hadi al-`Anizi was designated for providing support and services to ANF and AQ.

Al-`Anizi, a terrorist facilitator and financier based in Kuwait, has provided extensive material and financial support to ANF since at least 2014.  In late 2015, al-`Anizi solicited donations for ANF fighters in Syria and sent approximately $20,000 to an ANF member in Syria.  In late 2014, al-`Anizi worked with an ANF associate to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars to ANF members in Syria.

Al-`Anizi has also provided extensive material and financial support to AQ since at least 2007.  In late 2015, al-`Anizi sought assistance from AQ financier and U.S.- and UN-designated terrorist Sa’d al-Ka’bi to facilitate the travel of AQ-associated individuals.  In mid- to late-2014, al-`Anizi obtained passports for an AQ associate in Syria, provided medical supplies to an injured Syria-based AQ associate, and was appointed as AQ’s representative in Syria by AQ senior leadership.  Prior to 2014, al-`Anizi provided financial support to his brother, AQ facilitator and SDGT Abdullah al-`Anizi, who used the money to fund terrorist operations.

Status: Allegedly based in Kuwait

April 13, 2017:

Tarek Sakr

Tarek Sakr is a Syrian-born Canadian citizen who has conducted sniper training in Syria and periodically travels to Turkey. Sakr has been linked to the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and SDGT al-Nusrah Front, al-Qa’ida’s affiliate in Syria.

Status: Unknown

July 28, 2021:

Farrukh Furkatovitch Fayzimatov (Faruq al-Shami)

Fayzimatov utilizes social media to post propaganda, recruit new members, and solicit donations for HTS. Fayzimatov organized community fundraising campaigns to purchase equipment for the benefit of HTS, including motorbikes.

Status: Based in Idlib

Rewards for Justice:

Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani

Rewards for Justice is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information on Muhammad al-Jawlani, also known as Abu Muhammad al-Golani and Muhammad al-Julani. Al-Jawlani leads the al-Nusrah Front (ANF), al-Qa’ida’s (AQ) affiliate in Syria. In January 2017, ANF merged with several other hardline opposition groups to form Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). While al-Jawlani is not the leader of HTS, he remains the leader of AQ-affiliated ANF, which is at the core of HTS.

Under al-Jawlani’s leadership, ANF has carried out multiple terrorist attacks throughout Syria, often targeting civilians. In April 2015, ANF reportedly kidnapped, and later released, approximately 300 Kurdish civilians from a checkpoint in Syria. In June 2015, ANF claimed responsibility for the massacre of 20 residents in the Druze village of Qalb Lawzeh in Idlib province, Syria.

In April 2013, al-Jawlani pledged allegiance to AQ and its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. In July 2016, al-Jawlani praised AQ and al-Zawahiri in an online video and claimed the ANF was changing its name to Jabhat Fath Al Sham (“Conquest of the Levant Front”).

Status: Leader of HTS

From The Archives: The Founding of Jabhat al-Nusrah

On January 22, 2012, a new post on the Shamukh al-Islam Forum teased a big announcement from Syria. It included the below banner:

Urgent: Soon… The Expected Historical Moment – Glad Tidings to the People of al-Sham!!

A day later, on January 23, Jabhat al-Nusrah announced itself via its al-Manarah al-Bayda’ Foundation for Media Prouction, which included an audio message from the leader of the new group Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani.

Now… Glad Tidings to the People of al-Sham – al-Manarah al-Bayda’ Foundation for Media Production presents “Declaration of the Support Front (Jabhat al-Nuṣrah): For the People of Syria from the Mujahidin of Syria in the Fields of Jihad”

A week later, I wrote a short analysis of the video, maybe the first, if not one of the first to look at the group before it became more well-known by the end of 2012. Interesting reading it back now a decade later, considering where its successor group Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham is today and how Jawlani now is front and center compared to the first few years when he wouldn’t show his face. Here is the original video release:

Jabhat al-Nusrah’s original logo

HTS Ideologues Respond to the Taliban Takeover of Afghanistan

Abu al-Fatah al-Firghali

تحررت أفغانستان وعادت لتحكم #بشريعة_الرحمن
الله أكبر ولله الحمد والمنة.
اللهم بارك في رجال #طالبان الذين صدقوا ما عاهدوا الله عليه و #ما_بدلوا تبديلًا.
نصر طالبان درس للأمة في الثبات على الحق إلى تحقق النصر،
ودرس في أن من يتوكل على الله لا يقدر عليه أحد ولو اجتمع عليه الإنس والجن جميعًا.

🖋تأويل البعض انتصار جنود الله #طالبان بأن هذا اتفاق مع أمريكا لأجل الصين … إلخ من السفسطة أمر قديم منذ عهد النبي ﷺ والخلفاء من بعده إلى الآن، حين يحاول من لا يوقن بالغيب وقدرة الله تأويل كل كرامة أو نصر من الله بأسباب مادية، أو يحاول من يريد الزيغ عن الحق بحجة الاستضعاف أن يجد مخرجًا.
وأنصح بعدم الانشغال بالرد عليهم فالحق أبلج والباطل لجلج

‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Mahdi

تحية من مجاهدي الشام لإخوانهم الطالبان
لقد قاتلتم عشرين عاما تحالفا يضم ٤٠ دولة بقيادة أمريكا..
صبر وبذل ووحدة صف وتوكل على الله
نبارك لطالبان انتصاراتهم
كما نبارك للشعب الأفغاني
وللمسلمين في كل مكان هذا النصر الكبير..
ونفرح بذلك قال الله: (وَيَوْمَئِذٍ يَفْرَحُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ بِنَصْرِ اللَّه)
اللهم كما أدخلت الفرحة على الأفغان
أدخل الفرحة على السوريين بهزيمة بشار بوتن وخامنئي ومليشياتهم.

Dr. Mazhar al-Ways

📌قبل عشرين عاماً وعندما حصل الانهيار في أفغانستان ومن حزني نظمت قصيدة شعر أذكر فيها مآثر الطالبان، واليوم ومع هذا الفتح العظيم فقد جادت قريحتي بأبيات جديدة من الشعر أعبر فيها عن حبي وتقديري وعن أسباب النصر لهذه الثلة، وأبتهل إلى الله أن يكرر هذا الفتح في الشام الحبيبة،
أهدي هذه الأبيات إلى طالبان والشعب الأفغاني وإلى جميع الشعوب المظلومة وعلى رأسهم شعبنا السوري المكلوم، أقول فيها مستعيناً بالله:
أحــب الطالبــــان لأن فيـــهم
                   صـــلابة مسلــم حــر أصيــل
فتعظيم الشـــريعة رأسُ مالٍ
                   بفقــه أبي حنـــيفة والأصــول
فـلا رأي الخـــوارج فــي غلــو
                   ولا التمييـع مـن فكـر دخيـــل
ولكــن ســنة المختــار تعلـــو
                   على كـــل المنــاهج بالدليـــل
كأن القـــوم قــدبُعِثوا إليــنا
                   ليحيوا عـزة الماضـي الجميل
أسـود في الحـروب لها زئيـر
                   بصيحات الجهاد على السبيل
 بصــف واحــد ولــهم أميــر
                   فـــلا فوضى ولاقــالٍ وقيــلِ
فيارب العبـــاد نريـد نصراً
                    تمــن به على الشــام النبيـــل
كما أكرمتهم أكــــرم بــــلاداً
                    تتوق لكســر بشـــــار العمــيل
فإن النصــر منك بغيــر ريب
                    تجــود به علـى العبـــد الذليل
ولكـن الوعـــود تريد ســـعياً
                    لتحصيل من المــولى الجـليل

والحمد لله رب العالمين.

📌يقول التاريخ أن المحتل سيرحل وأن عملاءه سيلحقون به_طبعاً إذا سمح لهم الوقت بذلك-
سنةٌ ماضية طالما هنالك شعب مقاوم يريد الحرية وينشد الاستقلال، تحررت أفغانستان وستتحرر سوريا والعراق وفلسطين بإذن الله، فلا يضيع حق وراءه مُطالِب.

Abu Mariyah al-Qahtani

📌‏أبارك للأمة للإسلامية انتصار إخواننا الطلبة على المحتلين وأذنابهم في في أفغانستان وتعازينا للخونة والمنافقين ، انتصار طالبان انتصار للمسلمين انتصار لأهل السنة انتصار لجميع المظلومين ، عندما ينتصر الحق على الباطل يفرح المؤمنون بنصر الله والله قوي عزيز .

📌يتسائل البعض لماذا نحن نهتم بنصر طالبان؟

نفرح لفرح المسلمين ونحزن لحزنهم هي لغة الجسد الواحد.

يطير مدعي الإنسانية وحقوق الإنسان عندما يجدون من يغازلهم ويمتدح اكذوبتهم.

نعم افرح عندما ترتفع رايات الإسلام ويذل الشرك وأهله نعم أفرح عندما يخرج المحتل الذي دمر بلدان المسلمين وسلمها للمجرمين نعم افرح بهزيمة امريكا أمام الطلبة، وانتظر هزيمتها في العراق عندما اراها تخرج وأذناب إيران معها يخرجون من بلاد الرافدين.

كيف لا افرح وارى أمريكا التي ارهبت الحكام الخونة وارهبت المنهزمين الذين كادوا يعبدونها، يالها من فرحة قر الله اعيننا بها قبل ان نموت نشاهدهم ينسحبون من بلد مسلم وتسقط أكذوبة هوليود وجنديهم الكوني المنمق.

al-Idrissi

ذُهلت من تفكير بعض الذين كنت أظنهم نُخبًا فإذا بهم نُكب على الأمة الإنهزام والخنوع والتيه في فهم الواقع جعلهم يعيشون نظرية المؤامرة بكل تفاصيلها، ويرددون الشعارات التي أطلقها الغرب واليوم كفر بها “كالإرهاب والتصنيف” #طالبان شرف لكل الأمة سيرويه التاريخ ويتجاهل تحليلاتكم الساذجة

Jihad ‘Isa al-Shaykh

#مدرسة_طالبان
تعلم أصحاب المناهج المنحرفة أن لا نصر و لا تمكين للشعوب المقهورة إلا بالجهاد في سبيل الله و أن طريق الجهاد و إن طال فنهايته نصر بإذن الله 

#مدرسة_طالبان
تعلم أصحاب نظرية المؤمرة و النظرة السودوية أنه بالصبر و الجهاد و الإلتحام مع الشعب مع الثبات على المبادئ نستطيع أن نحرر البلاد و نحكم الشريعة رغم أنف الغزاة

Syrian war and jihadi-related plots, July 15-30

Netherlands

Samir A. is released from pre-trial detention ahead of his December 10 trial. He had previously been a part of the infamous Hofstad Group and was previously convicted of terrorist activities. He was imprisoned for nine years, including in the high-security terrorist wing of the prison, because of plans to attack. He was released in 2017. He was originally arrested in June 2020 for being involved with fundraising amongst relatives to help free Islamic State women at the al-Hawl camp in northeast Syria. This money would go to smugglers to help them get out of the IDP camp. Apparently, Samir focused on women that remained in IS’s territory until the end, with some allegedly married to different IS leaders. Samir worked with a Syrian from Vlaardingen, Fadi M, who is suspected of running an illegal hawala system. They allegedly raised up to €277,000. They were also assisted by an individual named Bilal L, who had previously been a part of the Hofstad Group top. This network allegedly helped 27 children and ten women get away. Some have returned to Europe, while others are in Idlib in northwest Syria.

Singapore

Mohamed Kazali Salleh, 50, had three charges in a local district court for terror financing. According to reports in The Strait Times, “on three occasions between December 2013 and early 2014, Kazali allegedly provided money to a Malaysian named Wan Mohd Aquil Wan Zainal Abidin (Akel Zainal), who apparently was an IS figure in Syria, intending for the money to be used to facilitate terrorist acts in Syria. Akel had previously instructed two Malaysian IS supporters to attack places of worship and police stations in Malaysia in 2019. The plots were foiled and the supporters were arrested in November 2018. Suggesting Akel could have been part of IS’s external operations team. The report goes on to explain “he is accused of handing over RM1,000 to Wan Mohd Aquil at a bus terminal in Johor Bahru. The other two occasions involve Kazali allegedly remitting US$351.75 and RM500 through Western Union in Singapore and in Malaysia respectively.” Kazali, was based in Malaysia, while his crimes occurred and was arrested by Malaysian Special Branch officers in December 2018. He was then deported to Singapore.

Germany

Omaima A., German-Tunisian, 37, who had previously been convicted in German court for being a member of IS, was given additional jail time for using Yezidi slave women to clean her home beginning in 2016. The previous sentence of three-and-a-half years was extended to four years. Omaima is also known for having been married to infamous German jihadi rapper Denis Cuspert (Deso Dogg, Abu Talhah al-Almani). She was originally born in Hamburg. Omaima is believed to have traveled to Syria to join IS with her three children in 2015.

German citizen Leonora M. was also charged with IS membership. According to a governmental press release, on March 6 2015 , Leonora traveled to Syria to join IS. After spending three days in an IS women’s refuge, she was accepted as a member of IS, after she had been registered and married a member working in the IS security apparatus as his third wife. The accused lived in al-Raqqah from the fall of 2015 to June 2017, where she allegedly took part in religious instruction. At the end of 2015, she also took on the task of researching the women of IS fighters for the IS secret service. She was also involved in recruiting a German woman to travel to IS. As part of her work for IS, Leonora received a monthly salary. Leonora’s husband bought a 33-year-old Yazidi women as a slave in order to sell her and her two small children for a profit. Leonora then allegedly nursed the injured Yazidis so that she could be resold at a profit. In addition, Leonora tried to dissuade the damaged Yazidis of the truth of IS’s belief system. The enslaved Yazidi was subsequently sold for a profit. Leonora eventually surrendered to SDF units at the end of January 2019 after IS lost territory and was at various IDP camps until she was brought back to Germany on December 20, 2020.

Austria

An Austrian court sentenced two men to jail over their involvement with IS in Syria. The first individual, who had previously fled to Austria in 2004, and was originally born in Chechnya was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail, while the second person was sentenced to four and a half years. The two individuals left for IS in 2013 with the first person staying there for one-and-a-half years and the second one only staying there for a few months. They had been recruited by Mirsad Omerovic, who had originally been born in Bosnia and considered the nexus point of IS recruitment in Austria. Omerovic is already serving a 20-year prison sentence after a court in 2016 found him guilty of belonging to a terrorist group.

Russia

Anisa Arabieva (previously Anna Molchanova), 23, was sentenced to three years in prison after being found guilty of recruiting terrorists to fight in Syria. Arabieva, a resident of Moscow, was recruiting Russians to join the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusrah. One individual was the Chechen native Zulikhan Magomadova whose departure was prevented by Russian security. In 2011, Arabieva converted to Islam following tragic circumstances in her life.

Eid al-Adha Greetings From Entities Associated With HTS and the Salvation Government

Salvation Government

Majlis al-Qaba’il wa-l-‘Asha’ir al-Suriyah

Green Energy

Idlib University Hospital

Administration of the Liberated Areas – Central Region

Salvation GovernmentAwqaf, Da’wah, and Guidance Ministry

General Administration for the Checkpoints

Administration of the Liberated Areas – Jisr al-Shaghur Region

Salvation Government – Shura Council

Saraya al-Muqawamah al-Sha’abiyah

Zajl Transportation

Administration of the Liberated Areas – Northern Region

Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing

General Security Service

Administration of the Liberated Areas – Atme Region

Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham

Dar al-Wahi al-Sharif Li-l-Qur’an al-Karim al-‘Ulum al-Shari’ah

Idlib University

Supreme Council for Issuing Fatwas

al-Huda Dawa Center

Administration of the Liberated Areas – Idlib Region

Administration of the Liberated Areas – Ariha Region

The General Commission for Zakat

Maktab al-Da’wah wa-l-Irshad al-Nisa’i

Mashru’a Ibnat al-Islam

Administration of the Liberated Areas – Harim Region

Majlis al-Salah al-‘Am fi al-Muharar

Abu al-Fatah al-Firghali

Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham – Military Wing

Administration of the Liberated Areas – Sarmada Region

Who Is Abu Ahmad al-Zakur? HTS’s Liaison to the Syrian National Army

Previously, I wrote about Jaysh al-Qa’qa’ and military ways Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) is attempting to infiltrate and potentially takeover in the future opposition areas in northern Syria outside the control of HTS. Yet, HTS also has diplomatic efforts to engage actors within the Syrian National Army. In particular, in Afrin and Azaz.

According to Muzamjir al-Sham, the individual that Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani has given this undertaking to goes by Abu Ahmad al-Zakur (though his real name is Jihad ‘Isa al-Shaykh). In late June, Muzamjir al-Sham then provided a biography of who this person is. This, together with other leaks of information in the past month or two regarding HTS maneuvers locally, led HTS leaders and supporters online to put out a piece on Muzamjir trying to discredit him. In line with this, Jihad ‘Isa al-Shaykh then posted his own biography of himself online to try and clarify the situation. In light of Muzamjir’s disclosure, al-Shaykh then posted his own photo of himself, though with his face blurred out of his trip to Azaz. Trying to show that what he and HTS were doing wasn’t quite in the shadows, but legitimate engagement. Yet this wasn’t enough for Muzamjir who then leaked a photo of al-Shaykh with his entire face showing.

Nevertheless, between the two accounts given on al-Zakur’s biography we can triangulate between them to try and garner a better understanding of who he is. Below are edited translations of what both individuals put out.

Muzamjir’s Biography of al-Zakur

Jihad ‘Isa al-Sheikh (Abu Ahmad al-Zakur), is from al-Nairab area in the countryside of Aleppo. His family is from the al-Baqara clan. His jihadi journey began following the US invasion of Iraq when al-Zakur began attending religious and jihadist sermons and lessons in the al-Sakhur neighborhood in Aleppo city from Mahmud Agassi (better known as Abu al-Qa’qa’), who turned out to be linked to Syrian regime intelligence. Through this, al-Zakur became acquittances with ‘Umar Khattab, who was appointed by Abu Mus’ab al-Zaraqwi as an official for al-Qaeda in Aleppo following his baya to Usamah Bin Ladin. Al-Zakur became his personal driver. Following this, he moved up the ranks to work in a guesthouse in Aleppo for an al-Qaeda figure named ‘Afash, where they helped smuggle Syrians and foreign fighters to go join the fight in Iraq. Eventually, the Syrian regime would arrest ‘Afash’s cell, including al-Zakur, who would end up in Sednaya prison. There he claimed to have higher leadership positions amongst the jihadis in prison than what was reality. Al-Zakur would spend a number of years in prison until he was released sometime in 2012 after Jabhat al-Nusrah (JN) announced itself.

Following his release, al-Zakur was appointed as deputy emir of JN in the Aleppo sector. At that time, ‘Abd Allah Sanad was the emir of Aleppo, but then al-Zakur replaced him and Sanad became his deputy. Al-Zakur allegedly had a prominent role in encouraging al-Jawlani to rebel against the Islamic State’s (IS) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and pushed for openly giving baya to al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri. Through this, al-Zakur had a working relationship with the so-called ‘Khurasan Group,’ the external operations cell within JN. Yet he apparently treated them poorly, which was one of the reasons why the head of the ‘Khurasan Group’ Muhsin al-Fadhli left JN.

After the dispute with IS, JN was severely lacking resources, apparently only having $100,000 in its finance office, while al-Zakur in the Aleppo sector allegedly had millions of dollars due to looting, theft, and corruption. This led Jawlani to appoint him the head of JN’s economic file. Though he was moved off this assignment since he apparently had a dispute with Abu Hajr al-Himsi and Abu Hasan Taftanaz, who both had great influence in JN at the time. Al-Zakur was reassigned to be the emir of the borders. While he was in this position that is when the Italian women journalists were kidnapped in Atarib with the participation of Harakat Nur al-Din al-Zanki. Al-Zakur also became responsible for the smuggling activities in and out of Turkey, effectively establishing a border mafia, which has since been transformed and run by civilian merchants as a front. Yet due to al-Zakur’s corruption and continued pressure from Abu Hajr al-Himsi and other HTS leaders, al-Zakur alongside his colleague Sanad resigned from the organization. This was around the time HTS went after various revolutionary factions.

Yet, Jawlani apparently liked him so much he ended up tapping him again for important positions within HTS. First, he became the commander of Jaysh Halab within HTS’s military infrastructure and then later responsible for relations with the Syrian National Army. In particular, he has close relations with the Sulayman Shah Division and holds continuous meetings in the Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield areas. The end goal is to eventually overtake the Syrian National Army and control their areas and take all the spoils for Jawlani and the leadership of HTS.

Jihad ‘Isa al-Shaykh’s Autobiography

My full name is Jihad Bin ‘Isa Bin ‘Ali Bin ‘Isa Bin Shaykh Bin Muhammad Bin ‘Abd Allah Bin Hasan Bin Musa Bin Hamdan Bin Muhammad Bin Amir Hamzah (with lineage related to al-Husayn Bin ‘Ali Bin Abi Talib). I come from the al-Bawasi clan, one of the clans of the al-Baqara Hashimi tribe. My father, Shaykh ‘Isa al-Asi Abu ‘Ali, is one of the faces of the tribe and of the city of Aleppo. My father is the owner of al-Shahba Poultry, Feed, and Fish Institution, which is one of the largest institutions in this specialization in Syria. It was built in 1987. I grew up in a strict tribal environment of Arab customs and traditions. I studied in school until the ninth grade.

I later joined the lessons and episodes of Abu al-Qa’qa’, who deceived us as he deceived many in Aleppo until we exposed him and turned against him at the beginning of the invasion of Iraq. Then he was killed several years later by the brothers Ahmad Kassara and Bassam Zayrbani. At the beginning of the invasion of Iraq, we, the youth of Aleppo, joined with Ansar al-Sunnah, then Jama’at al-Tawhid wa-l-Jihad. The latter was Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi’s organization, who gave baya to Usamah Bin Ladin, which therefore officially turned Zarqawi’s organization into al-Qaeda.

I was responsible for guest accommodations and coordination in Syria. I invested in that work with all my relationships, farms, and my family’s cars. And brothers who are still alive today testify to this, as rarely a brother passed through to Iraq without passing through us. Until the arrest of my uncle and my friend Zakaria ‘Afash, then I got to know ‘Umar Khattab, whom I worked with in my capacity as responsible for him and for the rest of the brothers in Aleppo. In the service of the mujahidin brothers is an honor, but I did not work as a driver for anyone. Then after a while, our brother ‘Umar Khattab was killed in a clash with the infidels in Da’il. After ‘Umar was killed, I became responsible for managing the work for a good period until I fell into an ambush in al-Firdaws neighborhood in Aleppo and was arrested and transferred to the State Security Branch between Aleppo and Damascus for a period of 8 months, then the Palestine Branch for 4 months.

This is where I met again with Zakaria ‘Afash for 4 years, including a year in the Palestine Branch. In Sadnaya prison, I was the official for al-Qaeda youth. I was also the military official in the prison insurgency that lasted for more than eight months and in which Zakaria ‘Afash, Abu Hafs al-Hadidi, and nearly fifty of the best brothers were killed. With the beginning of the Syrian revolution, the Assad regime abolished the Emergency Law and the State Security Court, after which we were transferred to the civil prison and we were treated as civilian prisoners, and those who left us were released accordingly by enforcing the quarter-term law, and many brothers remained in prison, killed by the regime, with the intensification of battles in 2014. This is a summary of my life before the revolution, but during it, books and volumes are required.

What to Make of This?

There are many similar details, yet they have different twists on them depending on the perspective. Whereby Muzamjir gives a negative twist to his biography and al-Shaykh provides a narrative that makes himself look good. Therefore, if you just take the specific events as such and ignore the spin, there seems to be a convergence between the two and where the truth lies. It’s too bad that al-Shaykh only shared his biography up to the beginning of the uprising and not up to the present. Though I understand for likely political and security reasons within HTS that he might not want to disclose specifics since he is still active within the theater and in the group.

Round-up of recent Syrian war and jihadi-related plots/prosecutions in Europe

Netherlands:

On July 2, a Dutch prosecutor called for a 27-year prosecution for a Syrian individual named Ahmad al K. He allegedly went by Abu Khuder and was a commander in Jabhat al-Nusrah. According to the prosecution, in 2012, Ahmad was involved in the execution of a lieutenant colonel in the Syrian regime’s Air Force on the bank of the Euphrates river. Ahmad then sought asylum in the Netherlands in 2013. He would eventually be arrested in Kapelle in Zeeland in 2019 after video proof of the war crime was unearthed.

Italy:

On July 5, four individuals were arrested in Andria region of Italy for the “‘crime of financing conduct for terrorist purposes’, as they disbursed through a ‘money transfer’ center in Andria money intended to support the activities of anti-government fighting organizations in Syria and, specifically, aimed at financing jihadists belonging to and affiliated with the self-proclaimed Islamic State.” This was done in coordination with a French judicial authority that “ascertained that two subjects residing in Andria, on 10.01.2017, had completed two money transfers (both €950.00), which took place just 3 minutes within one another to a Lebanese citizen, considered a ‘collector’ of money available to the so-called “foreign terrorist fighters”.

On July 11, “an internationally sought after jihadist fighter was arrested in the province of Salerno.” An international alert about this individual was released by the Moroccan Attorney General at the Court of Appeal of Rabat on June 28. He allegedly went to “Syria in 2012 to participate in the conflict in ranks of Jabhat al-Nusrah and later of the Islamic State, in which he would have held the position of military leader.” He apparently went by the kunya Abi Al-Barae according to news reports.

United Kingdom:

On July 6, Hisham Chaudhary was “was found guilty of seven terrorism offences, including membership of a proscribed organisation, entering into terrorist funding arrangements and disseminating terrorist publications.” Chaudhary allegedly, “created videos to spread the ideology of IS and to call others to arms… He even sought assistance to protect the legacy of his videos, to prevent them from being deleted or taken down.” He also was allegedly involved in helping finance the release of IS women based in the al-Hawl camp, using Bitcoin in particular.

Germany Charges Two Individuals for Financing HTS, Malhamah Tactical, and Junud al-Sham

On June 29, Germany charged two German nationals – Önder A. and Erman K. – for helping finance Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), Malhamah Tactical, and Junud al-Sham. Önder A. was originally arrested on January 7, 2021, while Erman K. was originally arrested on February 15, 2021. Malhamah Tactical is a jihadi paramilitary unit that helps to primarily train different fighters and groups in the Syrian war. Junud al-Sham is a jihadi group, is Chechen-led, and primarily has fighters from the Caucasus region. Both Malhamah Tactical and Junud al-Sham have associated or worked with HTS in the past.

However, more recently, there have been tensions between Junud al-Sham’s leader Muslim al-Shishani and HTS’s leader Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani over current dynamics and the future of the jihadi project in northwest Syria.

Regarding this case, Önder A. transferred funds fifteen times to these groups between November 2017 and October 2020, while Erman K. transferred funds twenty times to these groups between August 2018 and December 2020. According to the press release, “the funds were mainly intended to finance the armed struggle and to consolidate the territory of the terrorist organizations.” It goes on to say that these two individuals “are part of an international network that has supported the terrorist activities of the HTS, Junud al-Sham, and the Malhamah Tactical in Syria from across Europe through financial donations.” These donations were apparently given to two members of Junud al-Sham and one member each of HTS and Malhamah Tactical. Part of this money went towards the maintenance of a website created by those in Syria to elicit further donations to the organizations to help fight locally.

Jaysh al-Qa’qa’: A New HTS Front Group In Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield Territory?

On Friday June 11, a new entity calling itself Jaysh al-Qa’qa’ Bin ‘Umru al-Tamimi announced itself under the command of Abu Mu’tasim Bi-Allah Zabadani.

According to a leaked audio, Zabadani claims that it is a way for Hayat Tahrir al-Sham to insert itself into Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield Territory and eventually to take it over. In particular, Afrin and ‘Azaz. Those regions are currently occupied by the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army.

Leaked audio

This is not necessarily surprising, since Zabadani had previously been a member of Jabhat al-Nusra in Rif Dimashq and continued to be affiliated with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham after it changed its name. According to Ugarit Post, Zabadani’s real name is Sulayman al-Dalati and is unsurprisingly originally from Zabadani in Rif Dimashq Governorate. According to the website, al-Dalati is 32 years-old, is married and has children, and was previously arrested in 2006 for allegedly killing a Christian. He was released from Sednaya prison alongside the other Islamist and jihadi prisoners in June 2011 and originally joined up with Ahrar al-Sham. He is believed to currently be based in Ma’arrat Misrin in Idlib Province.

Based on his sources, Muzajmir al-Sham claims that thus far, Jaysh al-Qa’qa only currently has 100 members. However, through inducements such as salaries of 800 Turkish liras and other forms of aid, it is foreseeable others will join up soon since the Syrian National Army reportedly is having salary issues.

Non-HTS Bodies Eulogizing Abu Khalid al-Shami

Residents of Halfaya (Hama Governorate)

al-Jabur Tribe in the Liberated North

al-Majlis al-Thawri al-‘Am for Idlib Province

Marsad al-Shamal

Alteh Village (Idlib Province)

al-Nu’im Tribe

Majlis Muhajiri of Saraqib

al-Uqaydat Tribe (Homs – Hamah)

Bani Khalid Tribe

Albu ‘Asi Clan of the al-Bakarah Tribe

Displaced Residents of Damascus and its Countryside in the Liberated North

The Syrian Tribal and Clan Council