The leader of the opposition Islam Brigade, Zahran Alloush confirmed Monday that his Jihadist activities had begun as far back as 1987 and that he had been wanted by the regime for decades.
Alloush said his activities had led to his being targeted by security forces, eventually leading to his imprisonment in 2009, only to be released in June 2011, three months after the start of the uprising in Syria.
Since then, Alloush said he has been working on establishing a military force to fight the Syrian regime. Initially named the 'Islam battalion', the group evolved to become the 'Islam Brigade'.
In an interview with al-Bayan newspaper, Alloush said the Islam brigade is considered a the main fighting force in Damascus and Damascus countryside, conducting massive operations against the regime. It now consists of thousands of jihadist fighters and is divided into a command council, 23 administrative offices and 64 military battalions working across many regions in Syria.
Alloush said while the military performance of the group has improved, fighting has dragged on, suggesting the interference of foreign agendas and some secular groups had hindered the success of the group.
Alloush confirmed that the Islam Brigade is part of the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Syria, which was established on the basis of gathering all Islamic military forces and uniting them under one umbrella. He said that the front consists of a number of battalions and brigades, including the Sukour al-Sham, al-Farouk, and al-Tawhid brigades.
He said morale among the revolutionaries remains high despite the damage, killing, destruction, displacement and great suffering of the Syrian people, saying that Syrians are still pushing their sons to join the true Jihadist cause and that many are still racing to fight.
Alloush said significant numbers of Brigade officers were deployed to meet Syria's humanitarian needs, including provision of basic food and health requirements.
"We had to allocate a major part of our troops to the task of transporting and delivering flour and fuel, the operation of bakeries, protection of supply lines and the protection of food resources. We established humanitarian offices like the Nour al-Islam (Light of Islam) organization, which the Islam Brigade founded," he said.
On the formation of a transitional government Alloush said: "We permit the formation of a government that feeds on the fruits of the revolution that our martyrs watered with their blood"
He recommended the inclusion of figures in the government with an honorable history in military and political work.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer