Jabhat Ansar al-Din ('Supporters of the Religion Front') is a minor jihadi faction based in northwest Syria. Led by Dr. Abu Abdullah al-Shami, the group participates in the Wa Harridh al-Mu'mineen ('And Rouse The Believers') operations room alongside Hurras al-Din (the main al-Qa'ida-loyalist faction in Syria) and Jama'at Ansar al-Islam.
To learn more about Jabhat Ansar al-Din's current situation, I conducted an interview with the group's media office on 20th October 2019. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Q: Can you tell us a little about Jabhat Ansar al-Din?
A: Jabhat Ansar al-Din was established in 2014 CE and it is a jihadi group that was established on the blessed land of al-Sham through the coming together of a number of factions and they arise on the principles of the creed of the Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama'a: repelling the aggression of the aggressors and implementing the rule of the law of the Lord of the Worlds.
The Jabha [Jabhat Ansar al-Din] currently has by the grace of God a presence on the fronts of the Sahel [Latakia], Hama and Aleppo and it is one of the main component factions for the Wa Harridh al-Mu'mineen operations room.
Q: What are the aims of the Jabha in the field of al-Sham? Does the Jabha want to establish an Islamic state in al-Sham for example?
A: The aims of Jabhat Ansar al-Din were clarified in its declared covenant and they are:
1. Implementing the rule of the law of God (Exalted and Almighty is He) in all domains of life.
2. Repelling the aggressor enemy and bringing it down in all its foundations, symbols and leadership.
3. Filling the administrative, judicial, security and services gap in participation with the honest factions.
4. Removing oppression from the oppressed and restoring the rights to those who have them.
5. Restoring security to the people and protecting their material and spiritual rights.
And the practical translation of these aims in the shade of the situation to which the revolution has come in the field and politically is to bring down the surrender solution that is desired to be imposed on the revolution of the people of al-Sham and their blessed jihad: this solution aims to reintroduce the Ba'athist regime politically just as it has been reintroduced in the field, along with the legitimization and perpetuation of the the Russian and American occupation and its regional and local tools.
Q: Is the Jabha affiliated with any side or under allegiance to any side currently?
A: Jabhat Ansar al-Din is an independent group in terms of administration and organization and it is not affiliated with any side, whether in the interior or exterior.
Q: How do you assess the situation in the field of al-Sham today? Why have the factions lost some of the areas recently? What is the future of the jihad in the field in the long-term?
A: The battle continues by the grace of God with the occupiers and their idolatrous tyranny in al-Sham. As for the loss of the areas, the reason is principally due to the engagement that is erroneous and also destructive on occasions with the conspiracies that are hatched against the people of al-Sham, beginning with Astana and passing through the deceit of de-escalation and arriving at Sochi and its outputs, and the conspiracies continue.
As for the future of the jihad in the field of al-Sham, it will continue until God inherits the land and whoso is upon it and it will not stop by God's permission because al-Sham today is fighting on behalf of its wounded Ummah and the people of al-Sham have come out in defence of their religion and honour and have offered sacrifices after sacrifices and their jihad will not stop until the occupiers and their tools are expelled and until the law of God is implemented in His land.
Q: What is your position on the 'Peace Spring' operations? Do these operations benefit the Muslims and the jihad in the field of al-Sham? And do you support the Turkish role in Idlib and its environs?
A: In the shade of the current reality, the battle that the revolution is waging is an existential battle and of states, and all the more so, the revolutions derive their existence, force and influence and continuation through independence of their decision-making in the first degree. And therefore placing the decision-making of the revolution as a pawn in the hands of a claimed ally or guarantor friend- which is part of the international system- is nothing more than a type of suicide and offering the revolution and its people as a sacrifice on the slaughterhouse of the international interests. And our reading of the matter can be summarized as follows: that the course of Astana and other things besides it strives to impose a surrender solution that ends the revolution of al-Sham and the blessed jihad of its people and it is a solution that guarantees reintroducing the Ba'athist regime politically just as it has been reintroduced in the field. Also through it the occupiers and their tools divide among themselves zones of influence and in this the Adana agreement is being implemented gradually to deal with the problem of Turkish national security and the problem of displaced persons and the launching of the reconstruction process.
And in so far as all sides, whether they oppose the revolution or claim to be its friend, have realized their interests at the expense of the revolution and the sacrifices of its people, it is not reasonable to continue placing the decision-making as a pawn in the hands of claimed allies or guarantor friends and the time has come for the revolution to wage its existential battle through independent decision-making in which all participate and all capabilities are placed in its service.