Combat of Jund al-Aqsa against Military Factions :causes ,details & prospects

Eldorar Alshamia Editor | 14 October, 2016

#ElDorar AlShamia

#Idlib province, especially the southern countryside has seen deplorable events that lasted for several days, represented in clashes between Jund al-Aqsa against several factions, notably the Islamic Movement of Ahrar al-Sham and Soqour al-Sham, which resumed for three days before Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) intervened and held an agreement with the factions on the fourth day.

Bird's eye view on Jund al-Aqsa

The organizing of Jund al-Aqsa was formed as dozens of elements separated from (Jabhat al-Nusra) Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, where they were a follower group to Jabhat al-Nusra named "Saraya al-Quds" and they separated in late 2013, when there was a discord between Jabhat al-Nusra and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who declared the formation of the  "Islamic State of Iraq and Levant " ISIL or ISIS.

The founding leader of Jund al-Aqsa is Mohammed Yousef al-Othman, nicknamed "Abu Abdulaziz al-Qatari", one of the al-Qaeda’s prominent figures, was born in Iraq of Palestinian origin, came to Syria with Abu Muhammad al-Joulani and others.  The main reason for al-Qatari to split from Jabhat al-Nusra and form Jund al-Aqsa group is that denying the idea of ​​fighting the “Islamic State” Group (al-Qatar confirmed in a footage where he was preaching in front of the group’s elements during the battles erupted between IS militants and Jabhat al-Nusra the beginning of 2014, as he considered at that time that the dispute between al-Joulani and al-Baghdadi, is just a regulatory dispute nobody to intervene).

After the killing of al-Qatari, the organization led by Ammar Aljabor, known as Abu Musab, who was killed after a period in battles of Idleb countryside, after that the leader becomes actually Abu Zar al-Najdi al-Harthy or al-Jazrawi, a Saudi man, was detained in Saudi prisons before being released, while "Ayman Kdahnoun" known as Abu Diab Sarmin as a Syrian leader.

Jund al-Aqsa’s Battles

Jund al-Aqsa fought  previously in “Wadi al-Dayf” giant barrier in coordination with (Jabhat al-Nusra) former name of Jabaht Fateh al-Sham (JFS), where the battle was mainly to the Islamic Movement of Ahrar al-Sham and Jund al-Aqsa, also Jund al-Aqsa participated in the liberation of Idlib province fighting within the military operations room of (Jaysh al-Fateh)  to separate later, also the group participated in Hama eastern countryside’s  battles, which named as  the Battle of Marwan Hadid.

In contrast, fighting with the factions of the #Syrian_Resistance is no stranger to the Group, where it fought strongly alongside Jabhat al-Nusra in fighting factions of Syria Revolutionaries Front, and Jabhat al-Haq, and others in the countryside of Idlib during the campaign that lasted for weeks and ended with finishing more than 12 factions, also it fought the movement of “Hazem” alongside Jabhat  al-Nusra again, and they were able to end Hazem at that time, and fought side-by-side Devision-13 in the southern countryside of Idlib.


Tension eras between Jund al-Aqsa and Ahrar al-Sham

The relationship between Jund al-Aqsa and the Islamic Movement of Ahrar al-Sham -a prominent party between factions in the recent clashes- has passed several stages, and began on the 24th of October 2015, when al-Jund withdrew from Jaysh al-Fateh saying that there are factions adopt “collision of Sharea” projects and signed on UN envoy statement containing the political solution to keep al-Assad in a transition period, and Jund al-Aqsa claimed that the other group’s pressure on it  -Ahrar al-Sham in particular for fighting IS Group also caused its withdrawal from Jaysh al-Fateh.

The most significant tension phases between the two sides is almost three months ago, where members of Ahrar al-Sham accused Jund al-Aqsa of the killing one of its members after storming Idlib’s city hospital and take the fighter despite he was wounded, as Ahrar al-Sham gave 24-hours time to hand over the arrested fighter calling them as "murderers" before a number of sheikhs intervene and convince the two parties to form a tribunal, where the  clashes renewed again in the city of Ariha in Rural Idlib, where Ahrar al-Sham killed the military Emir of Jund al-Aqsa in the city, "Raad Eid" who was accused by Ahrar al-Sham  to be responsible for the assassinations  and planting improvised explosive devices operations, and works as a security agent in favor of IS Group within the ranks of Jund al-Aqsa after he returned from Raqqa, which was denied by the later, and accused Ahrar al-Sham that it is just seeking to disrupt the battles in Hama.

It must be pointed to the cell that was executed by Jaysh al-Fateh after the liberation of Idlib City, which recognized the killing of the leader from Ahrar al-Sham in the city of Idlib, "Abu al-Faruq Junaid" with an improvised explosive device, and the Executive Force of Jaysh al-Fateh  said that the three arrested elements out of a cell consisted of 4 elements were from Jund Al-Aqsa. The relationship between Faylaq al-Sham and the Group was strained as the Group’s element killed  Mazen Qassoum Faylaq’s commander, before Jabhat al-Nusra  interfered that time, and arrested the perpetrators to ensure the trial, but they were released later in mysterious circumstances.

The War Spark

The spark of war erupted between Ahrar al-Sham and Jund al-Aqsa, where a security patrol from al-Aharar arrested a person named Hazza Haitham Hazza, surnamed as Abu Dujana, said that he followed IS Group where the Movement  (published later confessions to Abu Dujana, in which he stressed that he was a security official in IS group and used to help immigrants who want to move to the IS areas , he admitted that he also used to implement tasks were assigned to him).

But Jund al-Aqsa responded to Abu Dujana’s arrest and arrested in turn the official of road safety of the Ahrar al-Sham in the city of Saraqeb, "Ali al-Issa" and his brother was wounded with a gunshot during the raid as well as his wife wounded, then exchange arresting campaign started  between the two factions.

The most notable recent fighting times between the two parties represented by declaring 16  revolutionary factions the most notably (Jaysh al-Mujahideen , Nur al-Din Al-Zanki, al-Jabha al-Shamia, Soqour al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam, Fastaqem gathering, Faylaq al-Sham) spurting Ahrar al-Sham and got into its own militarily, where they could take Jund al-Aqsa out of Jabal al-Zawya area of Rural Idlib, the city of Saraqeb, and the whole international highway of Latakia - Aleppo, in addition to the killing of a senior leader of the Ahrar al-Sham "Abu Munir al-Dabous" after he was captured by the group  of Jund al-Aqsa which is a notable turning point which contributes to increase the environment of tension and the other factions’ insistence to resume fighting, and perhaps the most important phase is in the Jund al-Aqsa’s declaration of allegiance to the JFS  where the later accepts such an Allegiance, citing certain conditions as the most important ones are to hand over the suspected elements those follow the IS group, as well as those involved on killing the prisoners from Ahrar al-Sham.

The latest developments in the crisis and expected scenarios

The military factions with JFS  held an agreement that the acceptance  of “Allegiance” to FJS considered a final solution for the organization, with emphasis on the failure to perform again under any name, as the text of the agreement on the release of all detainees from both sides with the exception of the prisoners  relating to IS Group, to form a committee composed of two judges of the Ahrar al-Sham, and two from Fatah al-Sham, an independent  judge within 24 hours.

Sources from the negotiating committee for ElDorar network that Jund al-Aqsa already released 136 prisoners from various factions, while the fate of 35 people, of whom remained unknown until this moment.

Previous Wednesday has seen escalating dialect by Islamic Ahrar al-Sham movement on the lips of its General Command, "Muhannad al-Masri" warning to fail to fulfill the commitment , and that any attempt by Jund al-Aqsa to flock again will drive them to react strongly, as some  information were reported  about the return of some elements to areas had exited earlier  in Jabal al-Zawya area of Idlib under the banner of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, according to sources in the Ahrar al-Sham, as al-Masri described the Group’s elements as "dirty fragmentation", which has invoked the spokesman of JFS "Hossam El-Shafei" to respond calling on al-Masri  to avoid the tone of escalation, considering JFS accepted the pledge of allegiance of " good mujahideen."

These developments come at a time when news of the formation of an operations room consists of more than 2,500 fighters from the revolutionary factions, led by Ahrar al-Sham and Soqour al-Sham, Jaysh al-Mujahideen Fastaqm Gathering , to wave to return to a military solution in case there is no commitment to monitor  and reveal the fate of the rest of the missing prisoners and the handing over of the prisoners who are involved in the killing process.

The important question remains: will JFS be able to put pressure on Jund al-Aqsa to implement what has been agreed upon between the front and factions, or will it announce to cancel the pledge of allegiance, or will it resort to the option of defending Jund al-Aqsa group confronting the factions, but the latest option remains unlikely, at least for many individuals involved in resolving the current situation.


Monitoring Unit