Losses mount in Lebanon for Islamic Jihad’s Syrian branch

On Jun. 15, Islamic Jihad’s branch in Syria, The Martyr Ali al-Aswad Brigade, published a statement mourning the death of a fighter killed in southern Lebanon.

“One of the heroes of The Martyr Ali Al-Aswad Brigade – Syrian Square. He [Muhammed Jalbout] ascended on the borders of occupied Palestine in southern Lebanon as part of the al-Aqsa Flood battle while performing his combat duty,” stated Islamic Jihad.

The statement does not specify the circumstances surrounding Jalbout’s death, but it does note that he lost his life during the al-Aqsa Flood campaign, which suggests that an Israeli airstrike was responsible for his demise.

Additionally, the Israeli military published a statement saying it struck a Hezbollah operative on Jun. 15 in Aitaroun, southern Lebanon. Also, an unverified video published on X following the strike shows a mangled motorcycle hit by a missile in Aitaroun. While it isn’t definitive, this strike in Aitaroun is likely the event that resulted in the elimination of Jalbout despite the Israeli military saying it was a member of Hezbollah that was targeted.

The killing of Jalbout brings the total death toll of Syrian Islamic Jihad fighters operating in Lebanon to eighteen, according to the latest tally from FDD’s Long War Journal. The Lebanese-based members of Islamic Jihad have also suffered losses in southern Lebanon, with fatalities also reported among fighters from other terrorist groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic Group, the Amal Movement, and the Syria-based Imam Hossein Brigades.

The elimination of foreign fighters operating in Lebanon marks a notable development in the ongoing conflict in the Lebanon-Israel border region. This trend has gradually unfolded amidst the complex and protracted war.

Lastly, the name of the Islamic Jihad group, Ali al-Aswad, is likely derived from Ali Ramzi al-Aswad, who was gunned down on Mar. 19, 2023, outside his home in Qudsaya, Syria. Al-Aswad was, by trade, an engineer and a senior member of Islamic Jihad’s branch in Syria. Al-Aswad reportedly worked on “developing the technical capabilities of the al-Quds Brigades, which emerged through its jihadist work in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank,” pro-muqawama (resistance) mouthpiece Al-Jazeera noted in a report. Islamic Jihad blamed Israel for the assassination and vowed to respond.

Joe Truzman is an editor and senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

Tags: , , , ,


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram