Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades

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Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades
ألوية أحفاد الرسول
Participant in Syrian civil war
Official logo of the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades
Official logo of the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades
ActiveJuly 2012–early 2014 (defunct)[1]
IdeologySunni Islamism[2] Syrian nationalism (factions)
Area of operationsSyria
Part of Euphrates Islamic Liberation Front (2014)[10]
Supreme Military Council (2012–14)[8]
Free Syrian Army (2012)[4]
Allies Qatar
 France (Allegedly)
Kurdish Islamic Front (formerly)[11]
Ahrar ash-Sham[12]
Al-Nusra Front[11] (until August 2013)[5]
Ansar al-Islam[13]
People's Protection Units (occasionally)[14]
Opponent(s) Syria
 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (since August 2013)
Al-Nusra Front (since August 2013)[5]
Ahrar al-Sham (2013)
People's Protection Units (2012–14)[11]
Battles and war(s)Syrian civil war
*Idlib branch Syrian Revolutionaries Front
  • Northern Aleppo branch: Army of Grandsons
  • Deir ez-Zor branch: 77th Division

The Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades (Arabic: ألوية أحفاد الرسولAl-wīat Aḥfād ar-Rasūl, "Grandsons of the Prophet Brigades") was a Syrian rebel group fighting against the Syrian government in the Syrian Civil War. It was funded by the Qatari government.[15][16]

Structure and member groups[edit]

Its notable subgroups included the Justice Battalion, the Golan Martyrs Battalion, the Golan Hawks Battalion, the Falcons of Mount Zawiya Brigade,[4] and the Qalamoun Liberation Front.[17] By August 2013, the group had coopted some 50 groups from across Syria; however, it was strongest in Idlib Governorate.[7] Its leader, Colonel Ziad Haj Obaid, was on the Arms Committee of the Supreme Military Council.[4] The Allahu Akbar Brigade, based in al-Bukamal in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate, was also part of Ahfad al-Rasul. In July 2013, Al Jazeera reported that the Allahu Akbar Brigade consisted of around 800 fighters.[5]


On 11 October 2012, the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades, in coordination with Ansar al-Islam, conducted a bombing of Syrian military compounds west of the Umayyad Square in Damascus.[13]

In December 2012, the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades executed a Syrian Army officer on allegations of heresy. By this time, the group was described as a Salafist jihadist group independent from the Free Syrian Army.[3]

In July 2013, the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades, along with Ahrar al-Sham and the Kurdish Islamic Front, announced that they would fight alongside with al-Qaeda's al-Nusra Front against the People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria.[11]

In August 2013, clashes erupted between the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the city of Raqqa. On 13 August, ISIL suicide bombers detonated 4 car bombs at the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades' headquarters at the Raqqa train station, killing 6 Ahfad al-Rasul fighters, including two commanders, Abu Mazin[6] and Fahd al-Kajwan, and 6 civilians.[18] By the next day, ISIL fighters fully captured the headquarter.[19] Clashes also erupted in Tabqa.[18] By 17 August, ISIL had defeated Ahfad al-Rasul in Raqqa and expelled it from the city.[6][20] During the conflict between ISIL and the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades in Raqqa, the group organized protests against both ISIL and Ahrar al-Sham, and viewed Ahrar al-Sham as allowing ISIL to defeat the group due to their lack of intervention in the conflict, while Ahrar al-Sham also shared the view of ISIL, of the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades as being a common enemy.[21]

The fighting soon spread to the Deir ez-Zor Governorate, and tensions also rose between Ahfad al-Rasul and the al-Nusra Front. In November 2013, Saddam al-Jamal, commander of Ahfad al-Rasul's Allahu Akbar Brigade, defected to ISIL.[5] Following al-Jamal's defection, 4 subunits of Ahfad al-Rasul also defected to ISIL.[22]

By early 2014, the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades was described as defunct, with many subunits rebranding themselves as members of the Syrian Revolutionaries Front.[1] The Latakia Governorate-based Brigade of the Chargers, formerly part of Ahfad al-Rasul, received BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles in early 2014, and became the 1st Coastal Division in late 2014.[23] Reports appeared in early 2017 that possible remnants of the Ahfad al-Rasul Brigades have reappeared as the Army of Grandsons in the northern Aleppo Governorate to fight ISIL as part of Operation Euphrates Shield.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Aron Lund (14 February 2014). "Syria's Southern Spring Offensive". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Alwiya Ahfaad ar-Rasool: A Growing Force in the Syrian Armed Opposition | Fair Observer°". Fairobserver.com. 25 September 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b Brown Moses (31 December 2012). "Video Appears To Show A Syrian Army Soldier Executed By Ahfad al-Rasul Brigade For Heresy".
  4. ^ a b c d O'Bagy, Elizabeth (24 March 2013). "The Free Syrian Army" (PDF). Institute for the Study of War. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e Basma Atassi (17 December 2013). "Syrian fighter defects to Qaeda-linked group". Al Jazeera English.
  6. ^ a b c Alice Martins (23 September 2013). "Watching Syrian Rebels Fight Among Themselves for the City of Raqqa". Vice.
  7. ^ a b Lund, Aron (27 August 2013). "The Non-State Militant Landscape in Syria". CTC Sentinel. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  8. ^ a b "The end of the rebel alliance?". Al Jazeera English. 15 September 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  9. ^ "Syria crisis: Guide to armed and political opposition". BBC. 13 December 2013.
  10. ^ "The new face of the Syrian rebellion". The Arab Chronicle. 5 March 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-04-25. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d Bill Roggio (26 July 2013). "Qatar-funded Syrian rebel brigade backs al Qaeda groups in Syria". Long War Journal.
  12. ^ "Syrian Kurds' struggle for autonomy threatens rebel effort to oust Assad". New York Times. 26 July 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  13. ^ a b "Bomb explosion hits security area of Damascus: activists". Reuters. 12 October 2012.
  14. ^ Barak Barfi (18 December 2013). "The Fractious Politics of Syria's Kurds". The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
  15. ^ "The Structure and Organization of the Syrian Opposition". Center for American Progress. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  16. ^ Basma Atassi (16 December 2013). "Syrian fighter defects to Qaeda-linked group - Features". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  17. ^ Sohaib Enjrainy (5 September 2013). "Syrian Christian Village Besieged by Jihadists". Al-Monitor. Archived from the original on 2013-09-10. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  18. ^ a b "The death of the commander of the descendants of the Prophet and the civilians in the bombing that targeted the train station in Al-Raqqa". Aksalser. 14 August 2013.
  19. ^ Alison Tahmizian Meuse (16 August 2013). "In Raqqa, Islamist Rebels Form a New Regime". Syria Deeply.
  20. ^ ""The Grandfather of the Apostle" announces the end of its operations against the "State of Islam in Iraq and the Levant"". Aksalser. 17 August 2013.
  21. ^ https://www.aymennjawad.org/14151/the-islamic-state-of-iraq-and-al-sham
  22. ^ Bill Roggio (5 December 2013). "4 battalions from Qatar-backed Islamist brigade defect to wage 'armed jihadist struggle'". Long War Journal.
  23. ^ "The CIA's TOW program: A list of rebel groups involved". Syria in Brief. 2 January 2018.
  24. ^ "Коуди Роша on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2017-02-23.

External links[edit]