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As the Syrian government commenced major military operations in the northwest of Syria earlier this year, the insurgent-held areas saw the establishment of an initiative called the 'Popular Resistance Brigades' (Saraya al-Muqawama al-Sha'abiya). Headed by a Supreme Committee, the Popular Resistance Brigades have established contingents in a variety of localities in Idlib and its environs, while also calling for donations to equip fighters.
To learn more about the Popular Resistance Brigades, I interviewed Majdi al-Omar, the director of media relations for the Popular Resistance Brigades. This interview was conducted on 16 September 2019. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham's fighting capabilities are mainly embodied in four 'offensive armies' named for the first four Rashidun caliphs. There are however military forces for the organization that exist outside this framework, such as the group's 'North Brigade' (Liwa al-Shamal).
Earlier this month, Liwa al-Shamal posted a recruitment announcement, which I translate in full below.
"Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Serghaya is a locality in Damascus countryside governorate, right next to the border with Lebanon. It lies to the north of al-Zabadani and Madaya. To learn more about the present situation in Serghaya, I conducted an interview on 10 September 2019 with a resident of Serghaya.
Q: What is the number of inhabitants in Serghaya currently? And what was the number before the crisis?
A: Around 24,000. And before the crisis around 22,000.
Q: Have most of the original inhabitants returned to their homes?
A: No one left so as to return.
Q: How is the services situation generally in the locality? For example for how many hours does the national grid electricity come?
Mu'assasat al-Turath al-'Ilmi (Knowledge Heritage Foundation) remains keen to preserve the legacy of what it sees as the sound heritage of Islamic knowledge ('Ilm) and scholarship that existed in the earlier years of the Islamic State. One institution considered to represent that good trend was the Research and Studies Office, which presently does not exist in the organization.
The dissident trend that emerged within the Islamic State and has since become a trend in opposition to the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi continues to produce output intending to expose the failings of the Islamic State project. This new release from Mu'assasat al-Turath al-'Ilmi ('The Knowledge Heritage Foundation') is another example of this output. The work, written by a certain Abu Jandal al-Ha'ili (who is originally from the Arabian Peninsula and held multiple positions inside the Islamic State), consists of pieces of advice he and others sent in private to Baghdadi and other Islamic State leaders. These texts were written in 2018 CE as the Islamic State's formal territorial holdings in Syria became confined to a small strip of land in eastern Syria.