Terrorist Activities and Criminal Law in Syria

TerroristActivities and Criminal Law in Syria

TerroristActivities and Criminal Law in Syria

In2012, Syria was torn in civil war. It is the time when the Jabhatal-Nusra, also known as Al-Nusra Front began its terrorist activitiesin Syria(Sherlock, 2012).The title of the group is Arabic for Levant People Support Front. Itis thought to be a branch of the Al-Qaeda whose major operations arebased in Lebanon and Syria(Sherlock, 2012).The Syrian Civil war was characterized by weakness in the HomelandSecurity hence making it easy for the rebels to enter the countryfrom Iraq in the pretext of coming in to help the citizenry fromrogue government militants(McDonnell,2013).During the Civil war, the rebel movement executed very successful andaggressive attacks in Syria. It operated on a low profile, notpublicly expressing their intent. However, even though the rebelgroup was fighting the government disguised as the people’s savior,it was declared as a terrorist group – and is still regarded thatway – by the international community. This is especially in thecountries such as Turkey, Australia, the United States and t heUnited Kingdom this is besides the United Nations that designatedthe group as terrorist(Sherlock, 2012).

Thegroup’s main ideology is to liberate all Syrian citizens from theAssad Government to a state that is solely guided by the Sharia Law(Sherlock, 2012).They value the Caliphate and aim at reviving it and having it inoperation accordingly. The group’s ideologies could be caused bytheir origin the members are of the Sunni Islamist Mujahideen. Thegroup seeks to lobby the support of every Syrian citizen to rebelagainst the Assad Government so as they could overthrow it(Blanford, 2013).This has been quoted from several of their leaders in interviews orvideos uploaded on Youtube(McDonnell,2013).In 2014, Al Oraidi Sami, their chief leader of Sharia, claimed thatJabhat al-Nusra is guided by the Abu Musab al-Suri’s teachings. Heclaimed that, the intentions of the group were positive and asked theworld to stop viewing it as terrorist.

Hesaid they aim at providing the people with services and physical aidand support but they had to join them in the fight against the AssadGovernment. Owing to their religious affiliation, the Jabhat al-Nusrahas attacked Many Non-Sunnis in Syria. The Alawis are the mostaffected groups as their religious beliefs are contrary to the Sunniteachings(Sherlock, 2012).Their failure to convert has led them to be killed in massivenumbers it could be vied as religious martyrdom. The group has alsotermed Israel and the United states as the greatest enemies, andimpediments, of Islam in the world(Burch, 2013).Their ideologies are nowhere near in comparison and hence therivalry. This has led the group to warn the countries frominterfering with the matters of Syria, failure to which they wouldstrike them. However the group has claimed that they have nointention of invading or attacking other countries unless provoked todo so. This is because, as they say, their focus is centered inbattling out the Assad Government out of power for the people’sliberation.

Reportshave shown that most of the members of the Jabhat al-Nusra are partof the Islamists who fought with the American forces in Iraq,especially the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s network. After the AmericanForces departed in Iraq, most of the Syrian militants sought toremain. However, they were commissioned to go back to their countryto fight in the Civil war, this time as a rebel movement. With thetactics they had obtained from the Iraqi war, they launched guerillawarfare upon the Assad government in Syria(McDonnell,2013).The group later convened meetings in places such as Homs and RifDimashq and laid down the group’s objectives, strategies andleadership structure. It is in January 2012 that Jabhat al-Nusra madeits initial public statement. They used the forum to rally the SyrianPeople to back them up fin ousting the Assad government from power(Burch, 2013).They proclaimed an armed struggle against the government and urgedthe people, especially, to join them in the fight. Later, the groupmade other public statements where they claimed responsibility ofvarious bombings and attacks. These include: The Aleppo bombings, theal-Midangs bombing, Bombing of Damascus and the murder of Mohammedal-Saeedd, a government journalist(McDonnell,2013).

Thereare lots of other attacks that Jabhat al-Nusra has claimedresponsibility for. It is in the record that Jabhat al-Nusra hadclaimed responsibility of 57 suicide attacks of the 70 that hadoccurred in Syria by June 2013(Chivers, 2013). Some of the most popular attacks include:

  • On 23rd December 2011, there were bombings in Damascus, Syria’s capital. The attacked claimed 44 lives and wounded around 160.

  • In January2012, Jabhat al-Nusra, through one of its fighters, Abu al-Baraa al-Shami, excuted the al-Midan bombings. Jabhat al-Nusra, through the realease of a footage of the bombings claimed that the revenge was founded on revenge of their mother, Umm Abdullah, whose dignity had been violated (McDonnell, 2013). They also urged the Syrian citizens to stick to the Islam teachings and adhere to prayer.

  • On 10th May 2012, the Damascus bombings were executed. Initially, Jabhat al-Nusra claimed responsibility before, a person claiming to be their spokesman, later denied of their involvement in the bombings. However, Investigations link the Bombings to the Jabhat al-Nusra extremists (Sherlock, 2012).

  • On 29th May 2012, a mass of 13 people were found executed by being shot, near the city of Deir ez-Zor. Later in June the same year, Jabhat al-Nusra claimed responsibility of the attacks. They claimed that they had arrested the soldiers and after interrogation, their found them guilty and punished them by death they claimed it was the best justice they could get (McDonnell, 2013).

  • On 27th June 2012, the Al-Ikhbariya TV station was attacked by bombers who killed seven people and kidnapped eleven others (Sherlock, 2012). They later claimed responsibility, displaying photography of the members of staff of the pro-government TV staton that they had captured during the attack.

  • On 3rd October, suicide bombers in cars blew up the the eastern part of the Saadallah Al-Jabiri Square. The Ministry of Interior announced that 48 people had succumbed to the bombings while 120 others were nursing serious injuries (Sherlock, 2012). The bombers targets were the Officers’ Club and the Jouha Café. Jabhat al-Nusra later claimed responsibility for the bombings (McDonnell, 2013).

  • In October 2012, the Jabhat al-Nusra leaders claimed responsibilityof having attacked military bases in Syria. The y had attacked the Allepo air defense base, the Hanano Barracks and the Suluq barrecks in Raqqah. They destroyed radars, buildings and rockets. They killed and injured many soldiers and civilians alike.

  • In the same month, Jabhat al-Nusra raided and seiged the Wadi Deif military base after prolonged fighting.

  • In November 2012, they attacked the Taftaza Air Base that had custody of 48 military helicopters.

  • Towards the end of October 2012, Jabhat al-Nusra took control of several checkpoints forcing the Syrian military to withdraw from the regions (McDonnell, 2013). They killed 28 soldiers of the Syrian army (Sherlock, 2012). They captured more of the soldiers and later executed them, terming them as the Assed Dogs. In February 2013, Jabhat al-Nusra fighters captured Francois Murad, a catholic priest in Syria and threatened to behead him in church (Sherlock, 2012). He was later shot dead.

  • In December 2013, Jabhat al-Nusra captured thirteen nuns of Syrian origin and put an offer a ransom of One million dollars on each of their heads. However, they refused to set them free until later in March 2014. The nuns claimed to have been harassed and molested by the extremists (McDonnell, 2013).

Jabhatal-Nusra carried out lots of other attacks in Syria.They havestirred the stability of Syria’s Government as well as the peace ofinnocent citizens. The extremist group has attracted the unterventionof the international community, with soldiers from countries such asIsrael and Britain being deployed in the Syria to counter theiractivities. Jabhat al-Nusra remains strong and grows by the day,amidst pleas for their withdrawal and calls of cease fire that theyhave all ignored.

Thefight against Jabhat al-Nusra has been difficult as the group haswell trained members, they use strategic attack tactics and they haveadvanced weaponry in their possession(Chivers, 2013).As earlier seen in this paper, Jabhat al-Nusra uses tactics such assuicide attacks, taking control of checkpoints, car bombs, militarybase attacks and assault, assassinating key military, political andreligious leaders who are not from their front, and the destructionof media centers affiliated to the government and assaulting theirpersonnel.

Inweaponry, the members of the group are well versed with the makingand improvisation of explosive devices, among other artillery. Thereare reports that the Jabhat al-Nusra controls a chemical plant inAleppo where they manufacture their weapons. They have the ability tomake rockets and chemical bombs. The use of Sarin gas is in broadapplication by the Jabhat al-Nusra militants(McDonnell,2013).With their experience and subsequent training of recruits, Jabhatal-Nusra continues to build a great deal of tactics both in the artof war and in that of making weapons.

Theorganizational structure also poses a great challenge in defeatingthe group. Jabhat al-Nusra is led by Abu Mohammad al-Jawani whoseidentity and nationality are not known(Bachir, 2012).This makes it hard to target him. In addition, the group’sorganizational structure varies in different regions of Lebanon andSyria despite having a common leader. For instance, it is observedthat the group in Damascus employs a clandestine cell system type oforganization that operates underground(Sherlock, 2012).This is contrasted to their comrades in Aleppo whose structure oforganization is characterized by a semi convention of military lines.This is where units are divided into platoons, Brigades and regiments(Sherlock, 2012).However, one of the most common characteristic is that all soldierrecruits are subjected to a ten-day religious training session beforethey can advance to military raining(Sherlock, 2012).

Jabhatal-Nusra also is guided by a hierarchy of religious leaders that hasa consultative council as the top most authority(Sherlock, 2012).The council is endowed with the responsibility of deciding onnational matters regarding the group, and on its behalf. Each regionis then headed by a sheikh and a general underlining the importanceof religion to the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists(Sherlock, 2012).

Theother greatest challenge posed by Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists is theirspying tactics(Chivers, 2013).It is believed that Jabhat al-Nusra has spies within the Syriangovernment apparatus. The informers within government inform thegroup of the government’s moves and intentions making them alertand prepared to counter any of their moves(Abdallah, 2014).This explains why the Syrian government has failed to handle thegroup. Jabhat al-Nusra has been termed as the most successfulterrorist group to have installed informants within the government(Chivers, 2013).

Theintrusion of Jabhat al-Nusra into the Syrian boundaries has been andwill continue to be a great challenge for, both, the Syriangovernment and the international community(Chivers, 2013).The government has the responsibility of safeguarding its citizen byensuring that there is adequate security and safety. However, thelives of Syrians have been exposed to fear of insecurity being to thethreats of the extremist group. There has been great economicaldecline as business activities, including, foreign exchange have beenadversely affected by the terrorist invasion. Investors have beendiscouraged from venturing into the war torn country. It is high timethat all the stakeholders play their respective roles to see an endto terrorism in Syria.


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McDonnell,P. (13September 2013).Syrian rebel groups sought sarin gas material, Turkish prosecutorssay.LosAngeles Times. Retrievedfromhttp://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-syrian-rebels-sarin-gas-20130913-story.html

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