BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:58 A.M.) – Islamic State-linked fighters from a past affiliate militia of the terrorist group in northwest Syria have regathered after one year of disbandment to form a new insurgent faction.
Despite withdrawing from the northwestern Syrian provinces of Idlib and Aleppo in early 2014, ISIS left behind an affiliate militia by the name of Jund al-Aqsa which after several years of serving alongside rebel groups like Jabhat al-Nusra (now called Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham), Ahrar al-Sham and the Free Syrian Army was formally disbanded in February 2017.
Now one year later, literally hundreds of fighters that once belonged to Jund al-Aqsa have regrouped to form a new faction by the name of Ansar al-Tahweed.
Syrian militant groups with associations to Al-Qaeda and even ISIS (itself being a breakaway from Al-Qaeda in Iraq) often re-brand themselves to avoid further designation as a terrorist entity by Western powers.
This is done with the hope of receiving political legitimacy by Western and Gulf countries as a so-called ‘moderate opposition’ movement in Syria.
On Monday, the media center of the militant faction released its first statement. The communique covers the formation of the group.