The Life and Death of Zahran Alloush

Zahran Alloush addresses a Jaish al islam military parade in the Damascus countryside in April 2015.
Zahran Alloush addresses a Jaish al Islam military parade in the Damascus countryside in April 2015.

December 31st, 2015.

Who was Zahran Alloush?

Zahran Alloush was born in Syria in 1971, his father Abdullah is a respected Salafist religious figure based in Saudi Arabia.

Zahran Alloush studied at the University of Medina in Saudi Arabia, but unlike his father, Zahran returned to Syria after completing a Masters Degree in Islamic Studies.

In 2009 the Syrian Government arrested Alloush for unclear reasons (either weapon possession or miscellaneous plotting) and held him in prison until mid 2011 when he was released under a general amnesty designed to calm the forces of insurrection.

The decision to release Alloush turned out to be another spectacular miscalculation on the part of the Syrian Government and Alloush became the most high-profile militant leader operating in the greater Damascus area where he commanded a force of 10,000 fighters.

(Alloush stated that Jaish al Islam comprised 17,000 fighters, 10,000 in the Damascus area under his direct command and a further 7,000 in other parts of Syria, since his death the number has been inflated to 25,000)

Jaish al Islam is one of the big four insurgent outfits operating in Syria along with Ahrar ash Sham and the better known al Nusra front and ISIL/Daesh.

Ahrar al Sham is a Salafist conglomerate without a well-known leader, the al Nusra leader is a designated terrorist who hides his face and the leader of ISIL/Daesh is in the same category so Zahran Alloush was  presented as the “respectable” face of the Salafi jihadist factions that comprise at least 90% of the Syrian insurgency.

Zahran Alloush even put on a shirt and jacket and was interviewed by mainstream US journal McClutchy, where he tried to present himself as a moderate and reasonable man.

Islamist rebel leader walks back rhetoric in first interview with U.S. media | McClatchy DC

In truth he was a Salafist and his stated goal was to bring Islamic government to Syria, a ridiculous and despicable idea given that a large proportion of the Syrian people are not Muslims and his particular brand of Islam rejects the status of many Muslims also.

Syria Comment » Archives Zahran Alloush: His Ideology and Beliefs

 

“Zahran’s  calls for cleansing Damascus of all Shiites and Nusayris. (“Nusayris” is the old term that referred to the Alawites prior to the adoption of “Alawite.” It is considered a term of abuse by Alawites. “Nusayri” refers to the founder of the religion, Ibn Nusayr.

Alloush calls for ridding Damascus and Greater Syria of the evil works and impure deeds of the Nusayris, using Qur’anic language throughout to underline their deviant ways. Such language makes Assad’s effort to demonize the revolutionaries and rebels easy. On hearing this sort of talk from the leaders of the revolution, Alawites and other non-Sunni sects worry that their struggle is a fight for their very existence.”

Alloush’s remarks regarding the Shia and Alawi population of Syiria were reprehensible and counterproductive, but this is the worldview Saudi Arabia backs.

This is what the term “takfiri” means, those that are so arrogant as to proclaim that only those who belong to their specific school of thought are Muslims.

Takfiri – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“A takfiri (Arabic: تكفيريtakfīrī) is a Sunni Muslim who accuses another Muslim (or an adherent of another Abrahamic faith) of apostasy.

Massive destruction, Jobar East of Damascus is a surreal sight after four years of war.
Massive destruction, Jobar East of Damascus is a surreal sight after four years of war.
Map of Greater Damascus, Jaish al Islam have controlled a broad swathe to the east of the city for several years.
Map of Greater Damascus, Jaish al Islam have controlled a broad swathe to the east of the city for several years.

The Insurgency in Greater Damascus.

Zahran Alloush was by far the most prominent insurgent in the Greater Damascus area. This area fell into the hands of the insurgents by late 2012, the Marj al Sultan airbase fell in November 2012 and remained under insurgent control until December 2015.

The Syria Army failed to dislodge the insurgents from these places despite the use of massive and often indiscriminate air strikes that along with the ground fighting have left the place a desolated ghost town of complete destruction.

By mid 2013, heavily armed insurgent groups were well entrenched in Eastern Ghouta, Jobar and Douma, small towns in the area east of Damascus.

In August 2013 the Syrian Army was bombarding Eastern Ghouta with heavy artillery when persons unknown conducted the false flag chemical attack, the last mad grab for US led regime change in Syria. The attack does not seem to be connected to Zahran Alloush, with the al Nusra front being the prime suspect behind the mass murder. The claim that the Assad government was responsible is beneath contempt at this point.

Apocalyptic Scenes: Drone footage shows destruction in Jobar, Damascus, Syria

The Syrian Air Force whether by accident or design, conducted numerous air strikes against public areas in these districts leading to massive civilian casualties and undoubtedly strengthening the position of the insurgents with the people.

In January 2015 a series of Syrian Air Force strikes on Eastern Ghouta markets left as many as 160 people dead. In response Zahran Alloush ordered his fighters to shell the Shia and Christian concentrated areas of Damascus, they managed to fire a barrage of between 80 and 120 rockets that left at least ten civilians dead.  Alloush tried to claim that his forces had attacked Government and military facilities,  they may have hoped to do so but in fact they lacked the weaponry to direct their shells with any accuracy and it was a criminal terror attack that only made Alloush look weak and foolish.

EXTREMELY GRAPHIC – SYRIAN AIR STRIKE – DOUMA – AUG 2015

The Russian Air Force, like all air forces also kill civilians but the strike against Zahran Alloush and his colleagues is indicative of a massive improvement in the quality of the air operations against the insurgents.

The operations are no longer semi-random bombardments but are targeted against military centers based upon intelligence and intense aerial surveillance.

The Easter Ghouta military parade of April 2014. Jaish al islam leader Zahran Alloush surveys his troops.
The Eastern Ghouta military parade of April 2014. Jaish al islam leader Zahran Alloush surveys his troops.
Jaish al Islam military parade, Eastern Ghouta April, 2015.
Jaish al Islam military parade, Eastern Ghouta April, 2015.

The Grand Parade.

The standout moment of Zahran Alloush’s public life and the only time he received intense Western attention was after the remarkably audacious Jaish al Islam military parade in Eastern Ghouta of April 2015.

When I first saw this I could not believe it, It hought it must be filmed in Turkey or some other neighbour of Syria but the Jaish al Islam had the audacity to hold this massive parade,involving 1700 troops, in the middle of the day, close to Damascus out in the open and it was a PR triumph. They were out in the open for at least 40 minutes.

ZahranAlloush gave a nine minute speech,  it was a very standard speech of a Sunni extremist fighter.

The video is here if any care to watch but it is very stock stuff.

If they tried to do it today they would all die.

Human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouneh, her husband Wa'el Hamada and two colleagues, Samira Khalil and Nazem Hamadi have been missing since their abduction by unknown armed men in December 2013.
Human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouneh, her husband Wa’el Hamada and two colleagues, have been missing since their abduction by unknown armed men in December 2013. Zahran Alloush’s men are the only suspects due to their control of the area the four went missing.

Abduction and Murder Allegations.

In late 2013 a Syrian human rights activist named Razan Zaitouneh disappeared from an area under the control of Alloush’s men, she and her three colleagues have never been heard from again.

This lack of chivalry raised its head again this year when Zahran Allloush under the increasing pressure of a campaign from a real air force- that of Russia, thought it would be a good idea to parade a group of kidnapped civilians through Eastern Ghouta in cages.

Syrian rebels cage people as human shields

Death.

On December 25th a drone watched and waited as leaders of Jaish al Islam (Army of Islam) gathered in their secret base inside their stronghold in the Damascus countryside.

Thye drone observes the arrival of a white sedan, a man leaves the vehicle and is met by a larger group of men.
The drone observes the arrival of a white sedan, a man leaves the vehicle and is met by a larger group of men.

Once the leaders were spotted arriving at the meeting point, the Russian Air force attacked the site with several bombs, flattening all of the buildings in the area and killing Zahran Alloush along with several of his key aides.

Russian airstrike follows the confirmation that the leaders of Jaish al Islam have arrived.
Russian airstrike follows the confirmation that the leaders of Jaish al Islam have arrived.
Apparently unclear on the precise location of the meeting at least three buildings in the area were flattened by air strikes.
Apparently unclear on the precise location of the meeting at least three buildings in the area were flattened by air strikes.

Syria: Top opposition commander killed by airstrikes near Damascus

Zahran alloush

Conclusion.

The people of Syria have been the victims of this war and nothing other than suffering and destruction has been achieved.

After three months of intense Russian support, the changes to the Syrian map are very minor. The only area where the Syrian government have made major gains that can be seen on the map is in Aleppo.

The Suth Front map from October 1st, 2015.
The South Front map from October 1st, 2015.
The Suth Front map from December 30th, 2015.
The Suth Front map from December 30th, 2015.

The maps only tell part of the story and the manner as much as the fact of Zahran Alloush’s death makes it clear that the trajectory of the war has completely changed now that the SAA and Hezbollah are backed by a high quality air force.

The arrogant powers  (the USA, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, France and Britain) will presumably intervene further should Syria and Russia make too much progress.

The ideal solution to the crisis would be a political settlement but unless and until the arrogant powers amend their world view, stop believing that they have the right to control every inch of the earth and destroy all who resist, the suffering is going to continue.

If the West and their allies maintain their position of arrogance and Russia and Iran maintain their position of opposition to the regime change project in Syria a regional or even a world war is a more likely outcome than a diplomatic solution.

Syrian War Imagery.

From Russia with Love by David Dees.
From Russia with Love by David Dees.

November 4th, 2015.

A Long and Grinding War.

The Russians initially mentioned a time frame of three to four months for this operation. The SAA initially tried to conduct a blitzkrieg style operation but the anti-tank rockets in the rebels hands made a mess of the Syria Armour so the blitzkrieg was shelved and the grinding war of the past four years resumed.

The Russian estimate of an operation that lasts three or four months is more likely to morph into an operation that lasts three or four years, at least in the absence of a political deal.

The delusion and sheer evil of the governments of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel mean that a political solution is highly unlikely. The Saudis are going to fight Iran down to the last Syrian Sunni fighter it seems.

Securing the Khannassar highway remains a key goal of the Syrian Army at this time.
Securing the Khannassar highway remains the key goal of the Syrian Army operationat this time.

Videos.

International Military Review – Syria-Iraq Battlespace, Nov. 03. 2015


International Military Review – Syria-Iraq Battlespace, Nov.04.2015

International Military Rewiev – Syria-Iraq Battlespace, Nov.05.2015

International Military Rewiev – Syria-Iraq Battlespace, Nov.06.2015

International Military Rewiev – Syria-Iraq Battlespace, Nov. 8, 2015

International Military Review – Syria-Iraq Battlespace, Nov. 9, 2015

Syrian rebel fighters in the outer Damascus region of Eastern Ghouta thought it would be a cute idea to kidnap a bunch of civilians and drive them around in cages as human shields. This type of thing makes me a big joke of the idea that these people are some type of liberal democrats.

An armed man who places a female civilian  in a cage in the hope that it may help him stay alive is nothing but a putrid worm begging to be put down in my opinion.

The antics of the rebel fighters have become most wearing.

Syrian rebels cage people as human shields: activists

These videos are propaganda, selected and sanitised, but they do give some idea of what is happening in Syria.

The Syrian/Hezbollah operation mirrors the operations in the Qalamoun mountain region of earlier this year.

Hezbollah seek to seize the elevated positions and control an area from there. Once the difficult hills are under their control, they use their superior firepower and surveillance ability to overlook the surrounding valleys and destroy enemy fighters as they traverse the valleys.

These tactics appear to work very well in the open areas. When towns and cities are the objective the situation is far more difficult and complicated.

This video is somewhat novel as it portrays the same battle from the viewpoint of both sides.

GoPro POV Footage Of Fierce Confrontation Between Syrian Army And Syrian Rebels South Of Aleppo

Airstrike cam: Bombs rain down on supposed jihadist hideout in Syria

Airstrike on terrorists’ ammunition depot (Raqqah province)

Strike against an ISIS militants’ training camp (Idlib province)

Russian aviation hit an ISIS fortified strong point (Idlib province)

Syria: Drone footage captures Syrian army advance in Latakia Governorate

Syria: Territory of Telb-Gmam and surrounding area under Syrian army control

Footage from the South ‎Aleppo battlefield were Syrian Army (SAA) and Hezbollah are making progress against the terrorist gangs in the surrounding areas of Al-Hadher town.

Syria: Army continues successful offensive against militants in Douma

Syria: Damascus troops exchange fire with militants in Ghouta

Russian strikes for terrorists isis in Palmyra

Airstrike on a militants’ column of armored and automobile hardware in Latakia province

Destruction of a workshop used for fitting automobiles with explosives in Aleppo province

Airstrike on a bridge, controlled by militants (near Raqqah)

Airstrike against terrorist training camp in Aleppo province

Airstrike on a strong point (Lattakia province)

ISIS blockade ceased: Assad forces retake key highway to Aleppo

Battle on! Syrian forces target ISIS near city of Sadad

Syrian army recaptures sole road to government -held side of Aleppo from ISIL

Syria: RuAF Mi-24Ps Providing CAS near Eastern Rif Homs

Syria: SAA/NDF Re-secure The Ithriya – Khannaser Road 11-4-15

Syrian Army retakes 8 Aleppo villages from militants in 24 hours


خاص الإخبارية – عمليات متواصلة للجيش على طريق أثريا – خناصر و
التنظيمات الإرهابية تتكبد خسائر كبيرة
Syrian TV News Frontline report.

Hezbollah Sniper

Su-34 performed strike against a plant, which produced explosive devices in Aleppo province

Airstrike against hangar with 10 cars fitted with explosive devices in Eastern Ghouta

Syrian Army and Hezbollah – Khanasser- Aleppo

Syria: SAA/NDF/Hezbollah Operations In South-West Aleppo: Part 4

Russia started to use 3 times more powerful bombs in Syria (laser guided KAB-1500)

Syrian army and Hezbollah