Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
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The Fighting in Abu Kamal (Albukamal): Background and Analysis

April 12, 2014  •  Brown Moses

Introduction

The eastern Deir az-Zor provincial town of Abu Kamal (more accurately in Arabic, 'Albukamal')- on the border with Iraq- recently came to headlines with reports of clashes between the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) and other rebels including Jabhat al-Nusra (JN), resulting in dozens killed. What is the story behind this incident?

Maps put out in mainstream media outlets (e.g. the BBC) have frequently color-coded Abu Kamal as an ISIS stronghold. As demonstrated previously, this characterization is highly inaccurate. One need not repeat at length what has already been written, but to recap for convenience: the town itself is controlled by six different factions.

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The Desert Falcons: An Elite Pro-Assad Force

April 8, 2014  •  Syria Comment

In the ongoing rebel offensive on Latakia, a new force on the regime side has come to light: namely, the Suqur al-Sahara' ('Desert Falcons').


Desert Falcons insignia (left), and an anonymous member of the brigade (right).

The Arabic outlet El-Nashra explains:

'Among these forces [that have emerged in the Syrian civil war] are the Desert Falcons that are fighting in Kasab and are considered the prong of attack and defence of the region especially at Point 45. They began operating in Homs and especially on the borders with Iraq to cut supply/aid paths between armed men in the two lands.

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The Latakia Front: An Interview on the Rebel Side

April 6, 2014  •  Syria Comment

The interview I have translated below comes from Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, a division of the Moroccan muhajireen group Harakat Sham al-Islam, which has played an important role in the ongoing rebel offensive on Latakia and whose founder and leader- Abu Ahmad al-Muhajir/Maghrebi [aka Ibrahim bin Shakaran, the ex-Gitmo detainee and 1990s Afghan jihad veteran] was recently killed.

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Assad Regime Lacks the Total Support of Syria's Christians

March 24, 2014  •  The National

As the Syrian civil war drags on, one issue that has been neglected is the status of the remaining Christians within the country. Media reports have generally focused on the concerns Christian residents have for their future but do not look into what role Christians play politically and militarily in the civil war.

To be sure, as a demographic component, the Christian presence is usually somewhat exaggerated. While the standard figure is given as 10 per cent of the Syrian population, the real percentage is more likely to be around half of that figure. Nonetheless, a look at the situation by geographic region brings out some important nuances.

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Interview with the leader of Iraq's Jaysh al-Mujahideen: Abd al-Hakim al-Nuaimi

March 17, 2014  •  Jihadology

Jaysh al-Mujahideen- not to be confused with the Ikhwani Islamist/Salafist rebel coalition of the same name in Aleppo province- is one of Iraq's older insurgent groups, now revived in the face of a renewed Sunni insurgency. The Iraqi Jaysh al-Mujahideen tends not to advertise itself openly on social media. However, like Syria's Jaysh al-Mujahideen, this group stands out- together with Jamaat Ansar al-Islam- for its known tensions with the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS: I will translate the relevant statement from the group's Shari'a Committee later). Yet unlike Jamaat Ansar al-Islam, Jaysh al-Mujahideen has kept a low social media profile.

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