Turkish-speaking jihadist group holds Assad loyalist captive in Latakia

Shortly after Ansar al-Islam announced its responsibility for a successful raid against Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Latakia, another small jihadist group advertised its own participation.

That organization, Fursan al-Iman (or Fursan’ul Iman), is a Turkish-speaking faction and appears to have operated in Latakia since at least early 2018. The group has a Twitter feed, Telegram channel and Instagram page, all of which appeared online on May 30.

Fursan al-Iman’s most recent post (July 13) on social media features a lieutenant who was captured during the attack on the Assad regime position. Ansar al-Islam’s set of photos included images of what looks like the same man being restrained and hauled away from the scene.

In addition, Fursan al-Iman’s social media pages previously posted pictures of its spoils from the assault, including various weapons, as well as the identity cards, cellphones, wallets, cash and other personal belongings of the Assad loyalists who were killed. The images, which can be seen below, make it clear that Fursan al-Iman took part in the raid alongside Ansar al-Islam and other Turkmen jihadists.

Fursan al-Iman has also produced three short videos documenting its operations since the beginning of the year. One of these videos was recorded in January. It is likely that all three were recorded in the Jabal al-Turkman (Turkmen Mountain) region, which is also where the joint operation alongside Ansar al-Islam was conducted on July 10. The scenery in all three of the short videos is densely forested. The group’s fighters can be seen preparing for their missions, firing small arms, and conducting sniper operations.

There are a number of smaller Sunni jihadist factions operating in Syria. It is not clear how many fighters are in Fursan al-Iman’s ranks, but it is worth keeping an eye on the group as the jihad in Latakia and elsewhere in Syria continues to evolve.

Fursan al-Iman’s “spoils” captured during the raid in Latakia:

Fursan al-Iman’s photos from the operation in Latakia:

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracy and the Senior Editor for The Long War Journal. Caleb Weiss is an intern at Foundation for Defense of Democracy and a contributor to The Long War Journal.

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