Hurras al-Din flag
Hurras al-Din replaced the Nusrah Front as al-Qa‘ida’s formal presence in Syria in February 2018 when al-Qa‘ida loyalists—opposed to a decision by the Nusrah Front to break from al-Qa‘ida, merge with other groups opposing the Syrian Government, and rebrand as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)—publicly announced the creation of Hurras al-Din. The group adheres to al-Qa‘ida’s Salafi-jihadist ideology, which advocates attacks against the West and Israel to expel foreign influence from Muslim lands, and it seeks to set the conditions necessary to form a new caliphate across the Levant and the broader Middle East.
Hurras al-Din maintains access to several longtime al-Qa‘ida members who could enable the group to pose a threat to US and other Western interests outside of Syria, despite its weakened state following successive personnel losses since 2019 that have removed many of the group’s veteran leaders. Moreover, an aggressive, wide-scale campaign by HTS to detain Hurras al-Din members since 2020 has hampered Hurras al-Din’s ability to conduct operations and prompted some members to defect from the group.
Operates primarily in Idlib Province, Syria, although it carried out attacks in Ar Raqqah Province and Damascus in 2021
Between 2,000 and 2,500 fighters
TACTICS AND TARGETS
Hurras al-Din primarily uses small arms and VBIED in its attacks. Its main targets are proregime and Syria-based Russian forces, although the group has also kidnapped some HTS members.
FOREIGN TERRORIST GROUP DESIGNATION
The US State Department designated Hurras al-Din and its amir, Faruq al-Suri, as specially designated global terrorists in September 2019. Hurras al-Din is not designated as a foreign terrorist organization.