Glossary 

This short glossary defines some of the most commonly occurring words encountered in the names of armed opposition groups and terminology used by armed opposition groups. It is not a comprehensive list. Many armed opposition group names invoke martyrs, characters in Islamic history, and references to Islamic places and beliefs.

Ahrar (pl): free men

al-Farouq: he who distinguishes truth from falsehood; an epithet of the 2nd Caliph, Omar

Ansar (pl): supporters; those who came to Muhamed’s aid on his arrival to Medina and fought for Islam

Fatah: conquest, victory, triumph

Haq: truth, rightfulness; al-haqq is also an attribute of God

Hurr: denoting freedom or liberation

Mujahid/Mujahideen (pl): fighter(s), warrior(s); variations of the root J-H-D, which can mean to endeavor or strive, to fight, or to wage holy war against infidels (i.e. jihad)

Nasr: variations of the root N-S-R, denoting victory

Nusoor (pl): eagles

Nusayri: derogatory term used for Alawis, the sect of President Bashar al-Assad; derived from Ibn Nusayr, the founder of the Alawi faith

Seif/Suyoof (pl): sword(s) (i.e. Seif al-Islam Battalion, the sword of Islam)

Shabiha (pl): ghosts; a term used to describe pro-regime forces

Shahid/Shuhada (pl): martyr(s)

al-Sham: can alternatively mean Damascus or Syria; in most SCM contexts, refers to Syria

Suqoor: hawks, falcons (i.e. Suqoor al-Aqsa Battalion, the hawks of al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem)

Tahrir: liberation

Tawheed: unification, union; can mean a merger of forces but also a belief in the unity of God, monotheism