In a new video titled “The Bringers of Doom” purportedly released by the Islamic State from “Wilayat Dimashq,” or “State of Damascus,” Syria, ISIS militants behead 5 “spies,” allegedly with Ahrar al-Sham, held in gunnysacks. The video was released on ISIS terrorist channels on December 9 attached to the hashtag “Ahrar al-Sham.”
Ahrar al-Sham is short for Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya and means “Islamic Movement of the Free People of the Levant” in Arabic. Ahrar al-Sham is a competing Sunni Islamist and Salafist group that is not only fighting against the Syrian regime, headed by Bashar al-Assad and supported by Russia, but also ISIS.
According to ForeignPolicy.com, Ahrar al-Sham is backed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, and is affiliated with the once al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as the Al-Nusra Front.
Both ISIS and Ahrar al-Sham seek to create an Islamic state under sharia law.
The video begins with narration stating that after years of fighting in Damascus, the “Sahwat” and “Nusayri” regime are working together to fight the Islamic State.
According to the Long War Journal, “the Islamic State’s opponents… are part of the ‘sahwat,’ meaning they are supposedly part of the ‘awakenings,’ which received crucial assistance from the US during the fight against the Islamic State’s predecessor organization, al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).” Syria Direct further reports that the sahwat “stabbed ISIS in the back” and that has made them a target by the Islamic State. It is unclear which side the sahwat are fighting with or for now and if they still have American assistance or not.”
Nusayri refers to the Assad regime. While nearly all of the extremist organizations in Syria are Sunni, the Syrian government is run by Bashar al-Assad, an Alawite or “Nusayri Shia.” According to The Believe Project, Nusayri Shia doctrine developed in the mountains of Syria in the 9th century by Abu Shu’ayb Muhammad ibn Nusayr. ISIS views Nusayris as heretics.
ISIS then shows screenshots from Arabic news articles, stating that “the Sahwat apostates handed over a Nusayri pilot who landed on their controlled areas after his fighter jet was shot down by the Islamic State mujahidin.”
The video then goes on to make various threats against Syrian cities before cutting to the execution portion of video, which is stated to take place in Ilayianiyyah village. Prior to their executiom, the five “spies” are forced to watch previous ISIS beheading snuff films by their captors.
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