Up to 3,000 Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters have defected from the organization and given ba’yah (religious payment; servitude) to the self-proclaimed Caliph of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), Sheikh Ibrahim Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, in the Qalamoun Mountains of the Rif Dimashq Governorate – these fighters belonged to multiple brigades that formed the conglomeration of the FSA.
As ISIS continues to spread their presence on the border of Lebanon and Syria, many rebel groups have found this organization more appealing than their predecessors due to their success in eastern and northern Syria. The Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra Front (Jabhat Al-Nusra) – who fought ISIS in Deir Ezzor – has seemingly repaired relations in eastern Lebanon and western Syria. The 2 militant groups have been spotted working together during armed engagements with loyalist forces in ‘Assal Al-Ward and Rankous.
The FSA groups who pledged allegiance to ISIS are the following:
1. Liwaa Al-Farouq – Approximately 300 fighters
2. Liwaa Al-Qusayr – Approximately 600 fighters
3. Liwaa Al-Turkomen – Approximately 400 fighters
4. Liwaa Al-Haqq – Approximately 400 fighters
5. Kataeb Al-Mouqna – Approximately 200 fighters
6. Liwaa Matfareeq – Approximately 500 fighters
7. Suqour Al-Fatih – Approximately 200 fighters
8. Liwaa 77 – Approximately 400 fighters