The ISIS – Suquor al-Sham Truce: Is It Real and Can It Last?

By Daniel Abdallah – for Syria Comment, Feb 6, 2014

Abu Issa or Ahmed Issa ash-Shaikh, the leader of Suqour ash-Sham (Syrian Falcons) who became the putative leader of the Islamic Front when it was formed in Nov. 2013. – Yesterday, a statement was circulated on Twitter and Facebook claiming that a truce had been established between Suqour ash-Sham (SS) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).[1] According to the statement, it appears that the truce had been mediated by Liwa’ Dawoud.[2] Below is my translation of the statement:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Allah the Highest says: ‘The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers’ [Quran 49:10].

From this divine instruction, and as the beginning of a wider process of reconciliation, we – the Suqour ash-Sham Brigades and its prince Abu Issa ash-Shaikh and the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria and its prince Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – agree to immediately put an end to the ongoing fighting between ourselves.

Neither party will attack the other in any way. Also, after this agreement, neither party will assist any third party in the Levant – that fight for Allah – in any way.[3]

Should any dispute between the two signatories arise, a Sharia court – established by both parties – shall arbitrate in the matter.

Allah is the determiner of success.

Although the statement was being circulated by accounts sympathetic to ISIS, and indeed some were making claims that SS factions in the Badiya (Homs desert), as a result of the agreement, were leaving their positions there against ISIS, not only did official SS accounts not mention it, they were verbally attacking ISIS. For example, the last three tweets, by then, of Abu Issa ash-Shaikh, SS leader, were describing ISIS as Khawarij and referring to them with their Arabic acronym داعش (Daesh) – which they find offensive.[4] These reasons led to a lively debate on twitter regarding the authenticity, and even the possibility, of the statement.[5]

Later in the day, an official SS spokesperson appeared on Orient TV to clarify the matter.[6] He stated that the situation was ‘nebulous’ – to use his expression – because the SS leadership was still unable to contact its local commanders who had supposedly signed the agreement. With that in mind, according to him, the truce was not approved by the SS top brass. Asked by the presenter what their official position regarding ISIS was, he said it was ‘no secret’, and that such a deal cannot take place ‘under any circumstances’. ISIS had gone too far, they had killed one of SS’ top military commanders.[7]

Although the SS spokesperson’s story is plausible, it does not explain how ISIS and Liwa’ Dawoud were able to contact their local commanders to obtain a copy of the statement and release it. Presumably, all factions are using the same infrastructure for their communication needs. SS was also once part of the Free Syrian Army which received communication equipment and other forms of non-lethal aid from the West.

A few hours after the interview was broadcasted, a video was released depicting an armed convoy moving through a desert road. It was claimed it represented SS’ retreat from its positions against ISIS in the Homs desert (the Badiya).[8] The video also showed an anti-aircraft gun firing at what was said to be a regime plane, which does not appear in the video.

As if to make matters worse for the SS spokesperson’s story, the head of the general staff of the SS Brigades released a statement confirming the reconciliation.[9] Below is my transcription of his statement followed by an English translation:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

قال سبحانه وتعالى: “إنّما المؤمنون إخوة فأصلحوا بين أخويكم

أنا العبد الفقير: راشد طقّو، قائد لواء سيوف الحق، ورئيس أركان ألوية صقور الشام. تمّ تفويضي من قبل مجلس شورى ألوية صقور الشام بالتفاوض من أجل الصلح بين ألوية صقور الشام والدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام. والحمد لله وفقنا الله عز وجل بأن توصلنا لإتفاق شامل في كلّ أنحاء سوريا لحقن الدماء ووقف الإقتتال بيننا وبين إخواننا في الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام.

وقد نص الاتفقاق على وقف الاقتتال في جميع أنحاء سوريا. وعدم مؤازرة أي فصيل يقاتل الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام والاحتكام لشرع الله في حال وقوع أي خلاف بمحكمة مشتركة تشكّل لفض النزاع بقاض من الدولة الإسلامية وقاض من ألوية صقور الشام. وننوّه بأن إخواننا في الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام قد التزموا بجميع بنود الاتفاق الذي توصلنا إليه. والله ولي التوفيق.

6 ربيع الثاني

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Allah, May He Be Glorified and Exalted, says: ‘The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers’ [Quran 49:10].

I am the humble servant to Allah, Rashed Tuggo, commander of the Suyouf al-Haqq Brigade, and head of the General Staff of the Suqour ash-Sham Brigades [SS]. I was commissioned by the Shura Council of the SS to negotiate a reconciliation between the SS and the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria [ISIS]. Thanks be to Allah. The Almighty and Exalted has allowed us success and we have been able to reach a comprehensive agreement that is valid all over Syria to stop the spilling of blood and end the fighting between us and our brothers in the ISIS.

The agreement stated the cessation of fighting [between SS and the ISIS] all over Syria; providing no assistance to any faction that fights the ISIS; and, in case of a future dispute, setting up an Islamic court that rules by Allah’s Sharia with a judge from the ISIS and a judge from SS to resolve the case. We would like to stress that our brothers in the ISIS have abided by all the clauses of the agreement we have jointly reached.

Allah is the determiner of success.

6th Rabi’ ath-Thani [Lunar Islamic Calindar. Corresponds to 6th February].

This statement represents not only the view of Tuggo, but also of the majority – we may assume – of SS’ Shura Council. SS’ spokesperson’s contention that no SS officials had spoken on the matter has, then, become invalid. Those views are at odds with those of SS’ leader – Abu Issa ash-Shaik, who has been quite public about his animosity to the ISIS. In one of his tweets, for example, he says: ‘I will cleanse the Levant from you – you sons of Saba’’.[10] It would, perhaps, be premature to say there is dissent in the ranks of the SS Brigades, but the last word on this matter has not been said. 


[2] Liwa’ Dawoud seems to have changed allegiances quite a few times. It was formerly an SS faction. See . It then joined ISIS only to leave it on 20th Jan 2014. See

[3] The original text is ambiguous. The intention appears to be that neither party will assist a third party in attacking the other signatory to the agreement. That, however, is not explicitly stated. Assistance to a third party, in the text, is left unrestricted by any conditions, which is impractical to say the least. The SS, for example, are part of the Islamic Front, and they are, as such, expected to assist the other factions in it.

[4] See . The Khawarij are an archaic Islamic school famous for its extremism and the willingness of its members to declare other Muslims unbelievers and to fight them. It has been used to describe ISIS by its enemies. Unsurprisingly, they also find the term pejorative.

[5] See





[10]  Ibn Saba’ is a 7th C Jew who is blamed in Islamic history for starting a revolt against the third Caliph. Whether he was a real person or a fictional character remains a matter of debate.