Abu Julaybib (Iyad al-Toubasi) was a Jordanian jihadist who once served as a leading figure in the al-Qa'ida-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra in southern Syria. During his time in southern Syria, he developed a notorious reputation for extremism and heavy-handedness and he was eventually transferred to the north of the country. When Jabhat al-Nusra rebranded as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham in July 2016 and presented itself as not affiliated with any 'external entity', Abu Julaybib rejected the move as al-Qa'ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had not given permission for it. From then on, he became known as one of the most prominent 'al-Qa'ida loyalists' in Syria, as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham became Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham in January 2017 and from that point was considered to have broken fully its ties with al-Qa'ida.
Abu Julaybib was at odds with Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, which prevented him from going to Deraa in southern Syria. Recently however, news emerged of his death along with a group of companions in the Deraa region. As such, the group Tanzim Hurras al-Din, which is a conglomeration of al-Qa'ida loyalists in Syria, has issued a statement offering 'condolences' to the Islamic Ummah on the death of Abu Julaybib and his companions. The statement of condolences shows that the purpose of Abu Julaybib and his companions in going to Deraa was to try to revive an insurgency in southern Syria, which was fully retaken by the Syrian government in the summer of 2018
Note that the Hurras al-Din statement does not take the form of 'we present to you our martyr Abu Julaybib...', suggesting that Abu Julaybib was not a formal member of Hurras al-Din. Indeed, despite rumours that he was a member, he never confirmed those claims. In any case, his ideological and strategic outlook matched the outlook of Hurras al-Din: namely, to continue the jihad in the form of insurgency against the Syrian government and disregard wider international negotiations and agreements over the future of certain regions of Syria.
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Statement of condolences on Sheikh Abu Julaybib and whoso was with him from the pure ones
Statement no. 11
Date: 25 Rabi' al-Akhir 1440 AH
We offer condolences to our Ummah on the death of a group of its faithful sons (Abu Julaybib and his companions) who departed to their Lord while they were dedicated and determined to restore the firebrand of jihad to the blessed land of Hawran: the cradle of this blessed jihad, but God's will is in effect and the destinies He set are in place and what is with the Exalted was better and more durable. For Abu Dawud and Ibn Haban narrated and the expression for this was on the authority of Abdullah bin Mas'oud that the Messenger of God (SAWS) said:
"Our Lord has marvelled at two men: the man who has risen to prayers from his sheets and blanket amid his affection [family/people] and family, for God the Exalted and Lofty says: 'Regard My servant who has risen to his prayers from his bed and sheets amid his affection and family, out of desire for what I have and out of affection for what I have.' The other man is the one who has carried out an expedition in God's path, for the people have been defeated, and he has known what is upon him in defeat, and what he has in return, so he has returned such that his blood was shed. For God says to His angels: 'Regard My servant, who has returned out of a desire for what I have, and out of affection for what I have such that his blood was shed'"- deemed sound by al-Albani.
Indeed the blood of this blessed detachment and the blood of the martyrs are a debt on our necks and avenging them is an obligation upon us, so we will complete the journey- by God's permission- towards the land of Hawran and the rest of our occupied lands until we liberate them and liberate our Aqsa and we establish the law of our Lord or we are killed in the path of that.
Oh God, accept Your servant Abu Julaybib and his companions among the martyrs and gather us with him in the dwellings of the martyrs in the blessed abodes of Paradise.
Tanzim Hurras al-Din
Tuesday 25 Rabi' al-Akhir 1440 AH