Ninety-six (96) local, regional, and international organizations and entities (prime actors) were identified by their peers as influential in the life of Syria. In the chart below, the left column ranks the prime actors from most influential in shaping the life in Syria (Russia) to the least influential (Relief International).

The chart also shows the classification of prime actors into five stances indicating the actor's support and contribution to inclusive nationalism for Syria, starting from the most committed (Core) to the least committed (Saboteur).

Amount of influence of Ahrar al-Sham in the life of Syria, and its commitment to inclusive nationalism for Syria.

25 prime actors participated in the following:

  • Determining the rank of Ahrar al-Sham according to the amount of its influence on life in Syria. As shown in the chart below, Ahrar al-Sham ranked 13th most influential prime actor.
  • Assessing and classifying Ahrar al-Sham according to its commitment to inclusive nationalism for Syria (also indicated in the same row by the colored rectangle). Of the 25 prime actors who participated in the assessments, more agreed that Ahrar al-Sham falls under the category of 'Saboteur'. A prime actor assessed as Saboteur is seen as working against a sovereign, stable, inclusive, and developing Syria.
Syria R3 PA Ahrar al-Sham x.jpg

In response to the question, “How is Ahrar al-Sham important in the life of Syria?” 

Round 3 participants stated (Nov. 2016 - Jul. 2017):

"They would like to isolate and condemn Assad, but are concerned about instability." (239312)

"They want Sharia law to govern Syria in the same way IS does. There should be no future for them in Syria if we want sustainable peace." (236592)

"They have big numbers. They represent the moderate Islamic movement. They are the only ones who can stop al-Nusra from expanding. They have a strong army, but not the support of the people." (230784)

"They have no ideology. They aren't really Muslim. They smoke. They drink. They sleep with women. They use Islamic sayings and imagery for the public image." (230713)

"They are the largest armed group in Syria. They have an ideology. They are the only one who is part of international agreements. They are 95-98% Syrians, and not classified as terrorists by the United Nations or the United States, only by the United Arab Emirates." (233911)

"They are very influential in the north of Syria. There are not 20-40 thousand fighters anymore. Now they are much weaker." (233881)

"They are an armed terrorist group, affiliated with al-Nusra." (238631)

Round 2 participants stated (Aug. 2016 - Oct. 2017):

"They are financially strong, backed by regional countries. Their reputation is not as savage as that of al-Nusra or ISIL." (221641)

"There are 3 subgroups. One is close to the Free Syrian Army. One is between al-Qaeda and the Free Syrian Army. The third is variable between the others." (223911)

"They play a role in the conflict. Many are foreigners. They are classified as a terrorist group. They are one of the reasons it's difficult to reach an agreement between Russia and the United States. They are tied to al-Qaeda." (228631)

"Their influence is in the amount of fighters they have. (223911)

"They have 20-40k fighters. They cover all of Syria. They have a command-and-control [structure]. They are not as ideological as al-Nusra." (221951)

“They want an Islamist state.” (221641)

A Round 1 participant stated (Jan. 2016 - May 2016):

   "They are a popular [part of the] resistance: sincere, brave, honest, with a good reputation. They provide services." (212041)