Freemen of Syria Battalions

LEADER*: Abdul-Rahman al-Souri
BACKERS: Sheik Adnan al-Arour and Sheik Hajaj al-Ajmi
CREATION: January 2012
Via Google Translate: Website, Twitter, FaceBook

The Freemen depict their fight as a jihad against an Alawite regime (the regime of Bachar el-Assad).
Their tactics are aggressive, and they are using the internet very efficiently. The Ahrar al-Sham battalions maintains a YouTube channel here, a website here, a Facebook account here, and a Twitter account here.

The Freemen of Syria feel free indeed to market aggressively their violent raids against the Assad regime.

They did this attack in early November 2012 (Screenshots from this video here):

They unambiguously embrace jihad and call for replacing the Assad regime with an islamic state based on “Salafi” principles. [The term “Salafi” refers to Sunni Muslims who interprete islamic scriptures based on the life of the “venerable ancestors” (al-Salaf al-Saleh), as exemplified by the prophet muhammad and the first four “rightly guided” Caliphs (al-Rashidun).]

Member of Ahrar al-Sham appearing on this YouTube video.

The Freemen of Syria Battalions are funded and armed by a network of Salafi preachers based in the Persian Gulf.
Their direct access to Gulf-based funding is reportedly envied by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) leadership (whose leaders are based in Turkey and apparently are not providing much in terms of arms and money).
Rania Abouzeid reported in “Going rogue: Bandits and criminal gangs threaten Syria’s rebellion” (Time, 30 July 2012) a leader of an FSA brigade saying this:

“The Salafis have their own support, and it’s strong. I don’t blame them, but we started before them, we spilled our blood, I think it’s a grave injustice to us that they have stronger support.”

The money flowing from wealthy donors based in the Gulf strengthens the Freemen of Syria Battalions and attracts non-Salafi combatants toward joining the Battalions — since the Freemen are capable of providing them with weapons and ammunition.

Screenshot from this video.

Just read reports that the Freemen are part of the military council in Idlib, and therefore gets a smattering of support from the Istanbul control center as well.
*According to BBC Arabic, archived here.


8 responses to “Freemen of Syria Battalions

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