What is the Matter with “Ahrar al-Sham”?

Eldorar Alshamia Editor | 12 December, 2016


#ElDorar AlShamia:

A number of battalions and brigades of the Islamic Movement of Ahrar al-Sham announced to integrate under the name of " Independents Army" or “Jaysh al-Ahrar” led by the movement’s ex-commander, "Abu Jaber Al-Sheikh" according to a statement posted on the new composition account in Twitter, noting that the move aimed to increase military effectiveness.

The announcement has sparked an angry backlash provoking a controversy and big questions about the next steps, especially as the commander of the formation, "Abu Jaber Al-Sheikh" among the characters that suspended his membership in the Ahrar al-Sham’s Shura Council, in addition to seven other characters did not swore  allegiance for new leader, "Abu Ammar al-Omar". Another reason that makes such an integration is ambiguous that the announcement was accompanied by a statement that mentioned namely both of the central artillery brigade and the brigade of armored vehicles of the Islamic movement of Ahrar al-Sham, these two very brigades according to the organizational structure follow the “General Military Wing” directly.

"Abu Jaber Al-Sheikh" via his tweeter account denied that such a composition to be a split or any kind of dissent from Ahrar al-Sham, saying: "Jaysh al-Ahrar”is just the core nucleus of a union and will never be a split from the movement project, because the movement is our home where we learned to unite and to sacrifice and give". But Ahrar al-Sham commander, "Abu Ammar al-Omar” said in an internal Circulation:" unfortunately, what we saw a little while ago on media means about the announcement of the formation of “Jaysh al-Ahrar” has not been ordered by the leadership of the movement and we learned about only through the media, so the leadership of the movement will work hard to treat that, God willing, in accordance to the movement’s laws and rules."

“Jaysh al-Iman” commander "Dr. Abu Hamza", which is the largest formations of Ahrar al-Sham commenting briefly on the announcement saying: "either brigades nor battalions have the right to merge with another brigades of the movement, such as the artillery or armor brigades; because they are general brigades of the military wing, and we consider the statement as a null and void one, and that is really sad to see some of our brothers pretending to unify in such jagged deeds."

"Abu Saleh Tahan" the former commander of the military wing of Ahrar al-Sham and one of the members who suspended their membership in the Shura council recently, defended the announcement saying: "Oh God, make this merger a good omen for the greatest  general merger, God bless you soldiers, God heal our hearts with an immediate sooner victory "

The Shura Council of Ahrar al-Sham Islamic movement assigned on 29 of  November, "Abu Ammar al-Omar" as the chairman of the movement, and  "the “Abu Jaber Al-Sheikh" head of the Shura Council, but the latter refused and  suspended his  membership, stressing that he with the other members of the Shura Council are still suspending their membership.


The period before the election of a new leader had seen sharp argues within the Shura Council ended with the announcement of eight members out of 22 to suspend their membership, where the eight suspending members hold on Abu Jaber Al-Sheikh as a chairman, however, the Council elected "al-Omar" according to the voting rule of (50 +1) justifying their action because of their position for heaped up  problems within the movement without declaring these issues.

A Twitter’s wave of anger was erupted in the wake of the publication of the statement, where the tweets considered what happened as a new step in the way of increased the factions and groups’ discrimination.

So many tweets by effective individuals addressed and lamented the announcer of the statement to deter these deeds. The most notable figures are “ Syrian preacher "Mahmoud Dalati, Dr. in jurisprudence Ayman Alharush, a field activist Majed Abdel Nour, Sheikh Abu Abbas al-Shami one of the most prominent founders of the Islamic movement of Ahrar al-Sham”.

Sources of Ahrar al-Sham estimate the number of battalions those whose names mentioned in the formation statement of approximately 1500 fighters, but the same sources suggested that some of the battalions and brigades may reject to involve in the formation after the leadership refusal, talking specifically about “al-Tamkin” brigade the largest brigade mentioned in the statement, where the Shura Council of the brigade will hold a meeting to announce its position for being named in the statement.

However, the confirmation of Jaysh al-Ahrar’s commander that such a move is not a kind of split, Ahrar al-Sham’s command refusal for the step makes the revolutionary circles in coming hours live an awaiting era which will reveal the outcome of the internal intensive meetings seeking to resolve what has become clear that it is an internal crisis has been represented in the new formation statement.