Suqour al Sham, one of six Islamist brigades that makes up the Islamic Front, has agreed to a ceasefire with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. From the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights’ Facebook page:
Key member of the Islamist Front signs truce with ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham]. SRF [Syrian Revolutionaries Front ] statement released today not acknowledging agreement.
The ISIS and the Suqour al-Sham islamist brigades, a main component in the Islamic Front, have signed a ceasefire yesterday. The agreement meant the immediate halt of clashes between the two militias and that neither side would support another armed group if they were clashing with them. If either side negates the agreement a joint shari’a court would be set to settle the dispute.
It is important to note that clashes have taken place between the two groups, with a military commander of Suqour al-Sham, and head of one of its brigades, and 6 fighters from the brigade, were killed by an ISIS ambush in the Sha’er dessert, Hama province.
On the 2nd of this month violent clashes took place between the two groups by the Sha’er oil fields, in the southwest of Hama province. The ISIS managed to besiege more than 500 fighters from Suqour al-Sham, with attempts by islamist and non-islamist rebels to break the siege.
The Syrian Revolutionaries Front issued a statement condemning the ceasefire of a prominent member of the IF with the ISIS. The statement called the ISIS a dark movement that enjoys spilling blood and has left Islam by the near unanimous fatwas, accusing it of several massacres against “Ahl al-Sunna” and even that it is working in collaboration with the regime. The Front stated that it will both battle the “Nusayri” (derogatory term for Alawi) regime and the ISIS.
As for the ceasefire, the statement called it illegitimate because it stemmed from a siege. The Front called for an end to the bloodshed and the evacuation of the foreign ISIS fighters outside of Syria. They state that they are the true defenders of Islam and the revolution and called on other rebel organisations to establish a joint room of operations.
The Syrian Revolutionaries Front, an alliance of 14 rebel groups from the all but defunct Free Syrian Army, may protest the ceasefire with the ISIS, but Suqour al Sham is no longer a member of the FSA and does not recognize the Syrian National Council. Suqour al Sham joined the Islamic Front in December 2013.
The timing of the ceasefire is interesting given Al Qaeda General Command’s denunciation of the ISIS earlier this week. The denunciation serves to further isolate the ISIS from the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, as well as from allies in the Islamic Front. The ISIS has been clashing with the Islamic Front and other rebel units over the ISIS’ heavy-handed treatment of competing groups.