The Islamic Front, a newly formed coalition of Syrian Islamist groups that cooperate with al Qaeda and is estimated at 45,000 fighters, released its charter on its official Twitter account on Nov. 26. Although the formation of the Islamic Front has been hailed as a blow to al Qaeda, the new group embraces jihad and calls for the establishment of an Islamic state and the imposition of sharia law, both of which are goals of al Qaeda. The Islamic Front’s charter welcomes the “Muhajireen,” or foreign fighters, as “our brothers who supported us in jihad.”
The document is signed by the following groups: Ahrar ash-Sham, Suqour al-Sham Brigade, Ansar al-Sham Brigades, Jaysh al-Islam, Al-Tawhid Brigade, and Al-Haqq Brigade; and is dated Nov. 22, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which provided a translation. When the group’s formation was first reported, a seventh group, the Kurdish Islamic Front, was also listed among its members. [See LWJ report, Analysis: Formation of Islamic Front in Syria benefits jihadist groups.] Most of these groups have coordinated military operations with al Qaeda’s two affiliates in Syria.
While the Islamic Front’s charter does not mention al Qaeda, either to include or exclude the two Syrian al Qaeda branches, the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS), it does contain a number of indications that the Islamic Front intends to work with al Qaeda affiliates and other Islamist groups that battle against the Assad regime in Syria.