Jaysh al-Izza

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Army of Glory
جيش العزاوية
Jaysh al-Izza
Participant in the Syrian Civil War
JaishAlIzza.jpg

Logo
Flag of Syria 2011, observed.svg

Frequently used flag
Active2013–present
Group(s)
  • Homs al-Adiya Brigades
LeadersMaj. Jamil al-Saleh (general commander,[1] disputed with Mustafa al-Bakour)
Col. Mustafa al-Bakour[2] (general commander, disputed with Jamil al-Saleh)

Capt. Manaf Maarati (deputy commander, until October 2019)[3]

Capt. Mustafa Maarati (spokesman, until October 2019)[3]
HeadquartersKafr Nabl area (August 2019-February 2020), Jisr al-Shughur (per pro-government reports),[4] formerly al-Lataminah[1]
Area of operations
Size
  • 1,500 (late 2015)[1]
  • September 2019:
    • 1,133 (HTS defector claim)[5]
    • Over 2,000 (pro-government media claim)[4]
  • ≤500 (October 2019)
Part of Free Syrian Army
Jaysh al-Nasr (2015)
Allies Tahrir al-Sham
Guardians of Religion Organization[6]
Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria
Ajnad al-Sham
Malhama Tactical
National Front for Liberation
Syrian National Army
 Turkey[7]
Opponent(s) Syria
 Russia
 Iran
Hezbollah
Arab Nationalist Guard
Eagles of the Whirlwind
Ba'ath Brigades
Syrian Resistance
Battles and war(s)Syrian Civil War
Websitehttp://alazaarmy.com/

The Army of Glory (Arabic: جيش العزة‎, romanizedJaysh al-Izza), formerly the Union of Glory (Arabic: تجمع العزة‎, romanized: Tajamu‘ al-‘Izza), is a Syrian rebel group affiliated with the Free Syrian Army active in northwestern Syria, mainly in the al-Ghab Plain in northern Hama and its surroundings. Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United States have supplied the group with anti-tank missiles[1] including 9K111 Fagots and BGM-71 TOWs.[8] The group has also expressed its disapproval of international efforts such as the Astana and Sochi agreements for de-escalating the war in Syria, and has opposed Russia's involvement in the war. Jaysh al-Izza also made efforts to join the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation which includes other prominent Syrian opposition groups in Idlib such as Ahrar al-Sham and the Sham Legion, but did not do so out of complications with the integration about which Jaysh al-Izza's leadership did not elaborate.[9]

History[edit]

An Army of Glory fighter launches a BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile at a Syrian government position during the 2017 Hama offensive.

On 30 September 2015, the first day of the Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War, 2 Russian bombs with 8-10 submunitions struck the group's headquarters and arms depots in a cave in the village of Al-Lataminah in northern Hama.[1][10]

During the 2016 Hama offensive in September 2016, Jaysh al-Izza used a BGM-71 TOW missile to blow up a low-flying Aérospatiale Gazelle helicopter, which they alleged to be Russian.[11]

In September 2018, Jaysh al-Izza originally accepted the 2018 Idlib demilitarization brokered by Russia and Turkey, with the group's leadership extending their gratitude to the Turkish President Erdoğan for coordinating the agreement. The group later became hostile to the agreement, however, after it was revealed that Syrian Government and other pro-Assad forces would not be required to withdraw from the DMZ and would instead be responsible for governing the opposition-held areas.[12]

On June 8th 2019 Abdel Baset al-Sarout, a senior Jaysh al-Izza commander and key member of the Syrian opposition, died from the wounds he sustained during combat with the Syrian Army two days prior.[13]

Following the 2017 Hama offensive, 2017-2018 Northwestern Syria campaign and the subsequent 2019 National Front for Liberation–Tahrir al-Sham conflict, the group's territorial control was confined to the areas around Kafr Zita and Al-Lataminah.[14] Those areas were subsequently captured by the Syrian Army in the 2019 Northwestern Syria offensive,[15] after Jaysh al-Izza, among other rebel groups, withdrew from the region to avoid being encircled by government forces.[16]

On 11 August 2019, Jamil al-Saleh retired as commander-in-chief of the group, citing "personal matters." He was replaced by Col. Mustafa al-Bakour.[17] At some point Saleh returned to the group, with al-Bakour becoming a dissident.[18]

Pro-government media outlets reported that over 2,000 Jaysh al-Izza members relocated to rebel-held areas around Jisr al-Shughur, after retreating from Northern Hama during the course of the offensive. They further reported that the group had started fighting alongside the Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria. Jaysh al-Izza itself did not comment on the reports.[4] The group moved its headquarters to the Kafr Nabl area, which came under Russian attack on several occasions.[19][20]

Jaysh al-Izza significantly declined and left in a state of disarray following defeat in the Syrian Army's Dawn of Idlib 1 campaign. The group lacked funding and military aid except for ammunition stores already available in Idlib and money received from supporters. It also suffered a decline in popularity with Syrian Opposition supporters due to a failure to comply with military determinants, and the group's perceived closer relations with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.[21] The group also faced a rash of defections. On 9 October 2019, 500 fighters from Jaysh al-Izza, including its deputy commander-in-chief Capt. Manaf Maarati and spokesman Capt. Mustafa Maarati, reportedly defected to the National Front for Liberation.[3] This reportedly left less than 500 soldiers in Jaysh al-Izza.[22]

In early November 2019, the Homs al-Adiyyeh Brigade of the Sultan Murad Division of the Syrian National Army defected to Jaysh al-Izza after the unilateral release of several Syrian Army prisoners of war by the Turkish government in the context of the Second Northern Syria Buffer Zone.[23]

On 23 November 2019, Russian warplanes carried out airstrikes on Jaysh al-Izza's headquarters near Kafr Nabl, killing two fighters and injuring six.[19]

In late January 2020, Mustafa al-Bakour announced publicly his groups participation in the battle for Idlib, though Jaysh al-Izza had reportedly participated since the fighting began.[21]

On 24 January 2020, Jaysh al-Izza's anti-armor squadron reportedly destroyed a missile launch platform of the Syrian army using an anti-tank thermal guided missile in the village of Tah.[24]

On 27 January 2020 Jaysh al-Izza took part in a counterattack along with HTS, Incite the Believers, and Ansar al-Tawid against the Syrian Army and Iranian-backed militias in several villages east of Idlib.[25]

On 30 January 2020, The Russian Air Force carried out airstrikes on Jaysh al-Izza's headquarters following the beginning of recruitment by the latter, killing three fighters and injuring several others.[20]

On 16 February Jaysh al-Izza targeted a group of Syrian Army soldiers with a thermal-guided ATGM on the Abdeen village axis.[26][27]

Following the end of fighting, Jaysh al-Izza continued recruitment, holding several graduations of fighters including special forces in July 2020.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Western-backed Syrian rebel group says hit by Russian air strikes". Reuters. 30 September 2015.
  2. ^ "A former leader in the opposition warns of a second phase of the Idlib battles".
  3. ^ a b c "Including leaders in the first row .. Defected elements of the "Army of Glory"". Zaman al-Wasl. 10 October 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Desk, News (2019-09-08). "Over 2,000 militants redeploy to western Idlib after defeat in northern Hama". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. Retrieved 2019-09-08.
  5. ^ "Series of detailed tweets from HTS defector Abu Salih al-Hamawi exposing HTS". Trunk News Translations. 2019-09-03. Retrieved 2019-09-04. Jaysh al-Izza has 1300 members, 167 (note: 13%) were martyred while you claim to have 10.000, and only 400 (note: 4%) were martyred.
  6. ^ "After military operation for it, violent attack by Horas Al-Din and Ansar Al-Tawheed and Jaysh Al-Izza in northern Hama and heavy aerial and ground shelling target the area". Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 26 April 2018.
  7. ^ https://www.zamanalwsl.net/news/article/114375
  8. ^ "US arms shipment to Syrian rebels detailed". IHS Jane's 360. 8 April 2016. Archived from the original on 5 December 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  9. ^ https://syriadirect.org/news/the-syrian-national-army-for-the-syrian-revolution-or-against-the-kurds-1/
  10. ^ "Russia says IS not the only target in Syria". The New Arab. 2015-10-01.
  11. ^ "Syrian rebels destroy helicopter in Hama offensive-monitor, rebels". Reuters. 2 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Syria rebel faction rejects Idlib deal". France24. 2019-08-29.
  13. ^ Schmidmeier, Fabian. "Die syrische Revolution - Teil 1: Der Aktivist Abdel Basit as-Sarout". Der Orient. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  14. ^ "New video shows the entire Syrian Army operation to capture strategic town in Hama". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 2019-08-08. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  15. ^ "Syrian army captures Hama rebel pocket in northwest: state media". Reuters. 2019-08-23. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  16. ^ "Syrian Observatory: Armed factions withdraw from Khan Sheikhoun and Hama northern countryside". Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 20 August 2019.
  17. ^ "قيادي سابق في المعارضة يحذر من مرحلة ثانية من معارك إدلب". عنب بلدي (in Arabic). 2019-08-23. Retrieved 2020-08-07.
  18. ^ "الخارجية الروسية تُعلن التوصل لاتفاق "خفض التوتر" في إدلب". وكالة ستيب الإخبارية (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-08-07.
  19. ^ a b "غارات جوية مصدرها قاعدة "حميميم" تستهدف مقراً لجيش العزة بإدلب وتوقع قتلى وجرحى في صفوفه". وكالة ستيب الإخبارية (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-08-07.
  20. ^ a b "عقب ساعات على افتتاح باب التطويع بصفوفه.. غارات روسية على مقر لجيش العزة جنوبي إدلب". وكالة ستيب الإخبارية (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-08-07.
  21. ^ a b وعالم, المدن-عرب. "إدلب:المعارضة مربكة..و"جيش العزة"يدخل المعركة". almodon (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-08-07.
  22. ^ "خاص لستيب|| انشقاق قياديان من الصف الأول بـ"جيش العزة" مع مئات العناصر، فما علاقة الأتراك!!". وكالة ستيب الإخبارية (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-08-07.
  23. ^ "The "free" handover of regime's prisoners and violations of the Turkey-loyal factions open doors of anger and resentment in the ranks of the "National Army," leaked recordings of members of "Ahrar al-Sharqiyyah": the blame is on the minister of defense and faction leaders, not Turkey, and mercenaries now steal their parents and consider it as spoils of war • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights". The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. 2019-11-02. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  24. ^ "بالفيديو.. الفصائل تنسف تجمعاً لعناصر ميليشيا أسد شرق إدلب". أورينت نت. Retrieved 2020-08-07.
  25. ^ "الفصائل تعلن مقتل مجموعة كاملة لميليشيا أسد جنوب حلب". أورينت نت. Retrieved 2020-08-07.
  26. ^ "شاهد.. انفجار صاروخ حراري وسط عناصر لميليشيا أسد جنوب إدلب". أورينت نت. Retrieved 2020-08-07.
  27. ^ "فيديو يوثق لحظة إصابة جنود من النظام السوري بصاروخ | الحرة". www.alhurra.com (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-08-07.
  28. ^ "جيش العزة يخرِّج دفعة من مجاهدي "القوات الخاصة"". شبكة إباء الإخبارية (in Arabic). 2020-07-17. Retrieved 2020-08-07.

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