As noted yesterday, the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) is taking part in the new jihadist-led offensive in Syria’s Aleppo province against Bashar al Assad’s regime and his allies. The fighting was organized by Jaysh al Fath, a coalition of several groups that includes Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. The TIP is a Chinese Uighur group that has long operated as part of al Qaeda’s international network and is closely allied with Al Nusrah.
Sources have promoted the TIP’s role in Jaysh al Fath. For instance, the banner above was disseminated by the Twitter feed for Al Muhajirun, which was established last year to attract foreign fighters to Syria on behalf of Al Nusrah and its allies. The banner advertises a video hyping the return of Jaysh al Fath, which successfully overran the Idlib province last year. The first organization listed is Al Hizb Islami Turkestani, meaning the TIP.
The TIP has begun to disseminate propaganda photos from the fighting in Khan Tuman, the town south of the city of Aleppo where Jaysh al Fath’s new campaign began. The photos do not include Jaysh al Fath’s watermark in the upper right hand corner. Groups that belong to the alliance typically use the logo on the images they produce from the fighting. (See Al Nusrah’s photos with the Jaysh al Fath watermark here.) In addition, some jihadist sources online do not count the TIP as an official member of Jaysh al Fath.
Regardless, the TIP is clearly coordinating its role with Jaysh al Fath and its member organizations. A video released by Al Nusrah yesterday explicitly mentioned the TIP’s participation in the assault on Khan Tuman alongside Jund al Aqsa, which is not a named member of Jaysh al Fath but is also obviously integrated into the battle plan.
In any event, the photos below were posted online by the TIP. They document the group’s “spoils.” Some of the photos also show Sheikh Abdallah Muhammad al Muhaysini, a popular al Qaeda-linked Saudi cleric, talking with a commander and other members of the TIP. Muhaysini often appears in the TIP’s propaganda.
The TIP’s spoils from Khan Tuman and the surrounding area south of Aleppo:
A scene from the fighting:
Sheikh Muhaysini talks with TIP fighters and one of the group’s commanders:
The TIP and other groups have taken Shiite prisoners during the conflict: