|Sham Liberation Army|
جيش تحرير الشامParticipant in the Syrian Civil War
Jaysh Tahrir al-Sham
Logo of Saraya Ahl al-Sham, which the Sham Liberation Army is a member group
|Active||April 2012 – present|
|Headquarters||Afrin, Aleppo Governorate, Syria (Since 2018)|
|Area of operations|
|Size||400 (August 2017 - Saraya Ahl al-Sham total)|
|Part of|| Syrian National Army
|Allies|| Turkey (since 2018)|
Islamic State (sometimes)
Jaysh al-Islam
Free Syrian Army
Islamic State (sometimes)
Arab Nationalist Guard
|Battles and war(s)||Syrian Civil War
The Sham Liberation Army (Arabic: جيش تحرير الشام, romanized: Jaysh Tahrir al-Sham), originally called the Sham Liberation Brigade (Arabic: لواء تحرير الشام, romanized: Liwa Tahrir al-Sham), is an armed rebel group active in the Syrian Civil War. It was founded and is led by Firas Bitar, a captain who defected from the Syrian Arab Army in 2012. Until 2016, its sole opponent was the Syrian Armed Forces and its allied militias; it rejected any fighting with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant until ISIL attacked its fighters in February 2016.
In November 2014, Colonel Abdullah al-Rifai of the 11th Special Forces Division of Saraya Ahl al-Sham was arrested by the Lebanese Armed Forces near Arsal. He was detained by the General Directorate of General Security and released on 2 January 2015. On 14 August, he was assassinated in Arsal.
On 30 September 2015, Sham Liberation Army, along with 12 other FSA and Islamist rebel factions, formed Saraya Ahl al-Sham in the western Qalamoun Mountains. The group maintained "good" relations with al-Qaeda's al-Nusra Front and other groups in the former Army of Conquest's Qalamoun branch.
In February 2016, the SLA along with eh Saraya Ahl al-Sham rejected the inter-rebel conflict during the Syrian Civil War against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, remaining neutral in the conflict and stating that its only opponent is the Syrian government. However, during the eastern Qalamoun offensive (September—October 2016), the group joined with the other rebels in fighting ISIL.
In February 2017, negotiations between Saraya Ahl al-Sham and Hezbollah began in order to install a ceasefire and for residents to return to the contest towns and villages between Hezbollah and the rebels.
On 27 July 2017, a ceasefire agreement was reached by Hezbollah with Tahrir al-Sham and Saraya Ahl al-Sham in the Lebanese portion of the Qalamoun Mountains. The agreement called for Tahrir al-Sham forces to withdraw from Lebanon to Idlib, Saraya Ahl al-Sham forces to withdraw to the eastern Qalamoun Mountains, where opposition forces maintain a pocket of control, and exchanges of prisoners from both sides.
On 14 August 2017, the last 400 fighters of Saraya Ahl al-Sham coalition and their families departed the Lebanon–Syria border and headed to the eastern Qalamoun Mountains.
In April 2018, the SLA, along with the rest of Saraya Ahl al-Sham evacuated to Afrin.
On 7 April 2018, the group published a statement condemning the Syrian Government, the Russian intervention and Hezbollah involvement in the war and requested that the United Nations send in military forces to intervene.
Saraya Ahl Al-Sham Member groups
- Western Qalamoun Union
- Levant Liberation Division
- al-Ghouta Martyrs Battalion
- Omar Haider Brigade
- 11th Special Forces Division (formerly part of the Southern Front)
- Itasimou Bihabl al-Lah Rally
- al-Ghurabaa Brigade
- The Men from Qalamoun Brigade
- Western Qalamoun Rally
- Martyrs of Qastal Brigade
- Dira al-Qalamoun Battalion
- Martyrs of Nabek Battalion
- Ibn Taymiyyah Battalion
- "Syria rebels form new Qalamoun coalition". Now News. 1 October 2015.
- "Syrian Jihadists Signal Intent for Lebanon". Institute for the Study of War. 6 March 2015.
- "Shells hit Damascus area as Assad attends prayers". AP. 8 August 2013.
- "Syrian opposition regains upper hand in Qalamoun". Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. 20 April 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- "Assad shown unharmed after Syria rebels report attack". Reuters. 8 August 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- "Last rebel faction leaves mountains on Syrian-Lebanese border alongside displaced". Syria Direct. 14 August 2017.
- "Widening clashes between the front and the victory of the Lebanese organization Daesh Jarod Arsal". Al Mayadeen. 27 May 2017. Archived from the original on 2 July 2017.
- "Syrian opposition regains upper hand in Qalamoun". Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. 20 April 2015.
- ""Sham Liberation" Army issued a statement declaring his position of "state regulation"". Al-Souria. 4 February 2016.
- Mohammad Nemr (22 January 2015). "FSA vows to continue fighting Hezbollah". Al-Monitor.
- "The assassination of Colonel Abdullah al-Rifai highlighted Qalmoun leaders". Al-Arabiya. 15 August 2015.
- @badly_xeroxed (5 September 2016). "Sham Liberation Army report fierce battles waged against #ISIS in the past two days" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Hezbollah, rebel group discuss truce at the Lebanese border". Zaman al-Wasl. 11 February 2017.
- "HTS to leave mountain region along Syria-Lebanon border as part of truce agreement". Syria Direct. 27 July 2017.
- "A fighter from the Sadik unit of Free Syrian Army's Tahrir al Sham brigade fires his Draganov sniper rifle from inside a house during heavy fighting in Mleha suburb of Damascus". Retrieved 4 January 2015.