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Radwan Nammous
File:File:Abu Firas al-Suri.png
Born 1950, Madaya, Syria
Nationality Syrian
Military career
Allegiance Flag of Syria.svg Syria
(Until 1979)
Flag of Jihad.svg Al-Qaeda
(Late 1980's)
Service/branch Flag of the Syrian Arab Army.svg Syrian Army
(Until 1979)
Flag of the Al-Nusra Front.svg Al-Nusra Front
(2012-present)
Rank Chief Spokesperson for the al-Nusra Front
Battles/wars

Syria

Lebanon

Military intervention against ISIL

Radwan Nammous, also known by his nom de guerre, Abu Firas al-Suri is a senior official within the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front. He serves as the groups media spokesperson.[1]

Early lifeEdit

al-Suri was born in 1950 in the Syrian town of Madaya, near Damascus. He joined the Syrian military and attained the rank of lieutenant but was discharged due to his Islamist leanings in 1979.[1]

He then joined the Muslim Brotherhood of Syria and was reportedly a military trainer in the Muslim Brotherhood's Fighting Vanguard group between 1979 and 1980. During this time, al-Suri fought against the regime of Hafez al-Assad during the Islamist uprising in Syria.[2]

Al Suri later traveled to Afghanistan, where he met Abdullah Azzam, a founding father of modern jihadism who was killed in the late 1980s, and Osama bin Laden. He then helped bin Laden and Pakistani jihadists establish Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist organization that remains closely linked to al Qaeda to this day.[2]

After the 9/11 attacks, al Suri helped al Qaeda families escape Afghanistan. And from 2003 to 2013 he was stationed in Yemen, where he stayed until the dispute between the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant erupted.[2]

Syrian Civil WarEdit

Due the in fighting between jihadist groups in Syria, Al Qaeda's senior leaders dispatched al-Suri to Syria, where he participated in the failed mediation efforts between the local Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front and the former al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq, ISIL.

Role within the al-Nusra FrontEdit

Al-Suri handles al-Nusra's most delicate public affairs. He is, for instance, the al-Nusra official tasked with explaining why the group has taken more than 40 UN peacekeepers hostage.[3]

Al-Suri's role as a senior figure in the al-Nusra Front, was not known until March 2014 when he first appeared in a video. al-Nusra introduced al-Suri as one of its witnesses against ISIL.[3]

In the months since his first video appearance, al-Suri has taken on an increasingly prominent role within al-Nusra. In July 2014, al-Suri introduced Abu Mohammad al-Julani, al-Nusra's emir, during a major rally of fighters. His voice could be heard on a leaked audio recording of the gathering, during which Julani spoke of establishing an Islamic emirate, or state, in Syria. In a video released by al-Nusra on August 8, 2014, al-Suri said the al Qaeda branch would declare an Islamic emirate in Syria only after consulting with other leading parties. By then, al-Nusra was openly naming al-Suri as its official spokesperson.[3]

ReferencesEdit

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