(Formerly Jabhat al-Nusra)
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 Fath 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 Fath al-Sham according to the amount of its influence on life in Syria. As shown in the chart below, Fath al-Sham ranked 14th most influential prime actor.
- Assessing and classifying Fath 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 Fath 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.
In response to the question, “How would you weaken Fath al-Sham, a prime actor considered as working against inclusive nationalism for Syria?”
A Round 3 participant suggests:
"Cut their sources of finance and weapons. Take back territory they control. They have to be fought ideologically too, with a stronger [ideology]." (238431)
In response to the question, “How is Fath al-Sham important in the life of Syria?”
Round 3 participants stated (Nov. 2016 - Jul. 2017):
"Fath al-Sham is an al-Qaeda affiliate that has lost a lot of its relevance.” (239312)
"It is one of the most formidable radical groups in Syria. They know how to radicalize people. They are difficult to negotiate with. They rank right after IS in terms of strength.” (236592)
"They didn't confront the Syrian people, so they will take longer than ISIL to disappear.” (230784)
"Fath al-Sham is not good. Some [members] are good people. Their ideology is not good. They are better than ISIL by a thousand times. They don't assassinate people. They are a big fighting force, especially lately. 90% are Syrian nationals, not foreigners. They don't join because of ideology. [Members] join because they are so vicious in fighting the Assad regime.” (230713)
"This group is new, only 3 years old. It will disappear. They want to stay to get more support and influence. The more killing they do the more influence they have.” (233881)
"They fight Assad.” (231211)
"They are armed.” (238631)
Round 2 participants stated (Aug. 2016 - Oct. 2017):
“They are part of al-Qaeda. They are ideological. They want to attract people to their way of thinking. They want an Islamic state ruled by Sharia.”(221641)
“They are also pro-government. The head (Mohammad Al Jolani) is the former head of Syrian Security. It will not exist long.”(220291)
“The leader is bad, a part of al-Qaeda, but the members are good people.” (221211)
“They are linked to al-Qaeda and have influence with a certain element of Syrian society.” (223911)
“They are the largest or second largest non-ISIL, non-Kurd opposition group. They are dominant in Idlib. They recruit more effectively than the Free Syrian Army because they have an ideology. (221951)
“They fight Assad.” (221211)
Round 1 participants stated (Jan. 2016 - May 2016):
“[The Free Syrian Army and] Jabhat al-Nusra [now Fath al-Sham] are filled with outside money and seasoned terrorists.” (2177011)
“This is not a peasant revolution. 90% of the opposition is extreme hardened, outside terrorists. They force the other 10% to commit atrocities for their own protection.” (217701)