Dhu-al-Fiqar Battalion (Liwa Dhulfiqar) (Syria)

Country: Syria
Details of Formation: News sources contradict each other on the exact circumstances of formation. According to one news source, the Liwa Dhulfiqar was first mentioned on 5 June 2013 and that it was created from the Abu-al-Fadl al-Abbas Brigade (which is coded as separate PGM). It is also suggested that the Dhulfiqar emerged out of an infighting in the Abu-Al-Fadl al-Abbas Brigade, as commanders did not want to fight under Syrian command anymore. The new Liwa Dhulifiqar might the group of those not accepting Syrian command; the news source suggests that they have to accept Syrian command out of necessity. Another news source says that Hezbollah set up the Liwa Dhulfiqar in July 2013. It mentions that according to Syrian opposition the Liwa Dhulifiqar was created from the Abu-al-Fadl al-Abbas Brigade, congruent with the other news source. Both the Liwa Dhulifiqar and the Abu-al-Fadl al-Abbas Brigade have links to the Lebanese Hezbollah.
Details of Termination: --
Purpose: The main purpose of the militia is to protect Shi’i religious shrines in Damascus, especially the Al-Sayyidah Zaynahb shrine.
Organisation: The Dhu-al-Fiqar Battalion supports the Assad regime. It relies on the cooperation with Assad’s forces which provide them with weapons and funnel supplies to the group. The Battalion has two commanders, Abu Shahd Al-Jaburi and Abu-Hajir. Both leaders had previously been mentioned as leaders of the Abu-al-Fadl al-Abbas Brigade.
Weapons and Training: The PGM receives heavy weapons from the Syrian army, including tank and artillery support. Most of its Iraqi Shiite fighters are trained in Iran.
Size: The commander of the PGM, Abu Shahd, mentioned in March 2014 an operation involving 75 combatants. A news source from June 2014 estimates an overall group size of 7,000 fighters.
Reason for Membership: --
Treatment of Civilians: Together with other PGMs, the Dhu-al-Fiqar Battalion killed children and women in the Al-Nabak neighbourhoods.
Other Information: The Dhu-al-Fiqar Battalion (Liwa Dhulfiqar) is also known as Liwa Zulfiqar or Tho al-Faqar Brigade. Its fighters are mainly drawn from other Shia militias, such as Muqtada al-Sadr’s Liwa’a al-Yum al-Mawud (Promised Day Brigades), Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, and Kata’ib Hizballah. It shares many leaders and fighters with the al-Abbas Brigade. In June 2014, it formed the Alawite Anger Division together with the Imam al-Husayn Brigade to regain control of areas held by the Islamic State. There are also reports that the PGM is simply a Liwa’a Abu Fadl al- Abbas (LAFA) front or part of LAFA, as most of its members and leadership appear to have been drawn from LAFA.
References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD