A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

BAAD - Al-Nusrah Front - 2012


Al-Nusrah Front

Al-Nusrah Front is a religious, separatist group founded in 2012 by Abu Muhammed al-Julani during the Syrian Civil War.[2]  In 2011, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (at the time commonly referred to as Al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), ordered Al-Julani to form an affiliate in Syria.[3]  Al-Julani is allegedly a Syrian who fought against the United States and its allies in Iraq and, at one time, was a follower of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.[4] The Al-Nusrah Front command consists of members who gained operational experience in Iraq while the jihadist foot soldiers are comprised mostly of Syrians. In addition, several thousand fighters from the Arab-Muslim world and nearly one thousand from the West have joined Al-Nusrah.[5]

Al-Nusrah has carried out a number of recorded suicide attacks against targets supportive of Al-Asad’s government.[6] Initially, the group was largely funded by AQI; however, once relations with AQI deteriorated, Al-Nusrah began to rely on Salafist-jihadi charities and private citizens.[7]  In 2013, al-Baghdadi attempted to merge the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) and Al-Nusrah Front into the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS).  Al-Julani immediately rejected this proposal and instead pledged allegiance directly to al-Qa’ida core.[8] At this time, there is evidence to suggest that a divide began to emerge within the ranks of Al-Nusrah.[9] In April 2014, ISIS reported they had killed Abu Muhammad al Ansari, Idlib province’s commander, and his family.[10] View full narrative

Quick Facts for 2012


309 (Total of 1998 through 2012)



Territorial Control:
Does Not Control Territory (0)

Funding through Drug Trafficking:

Sorry, but there are no organizational details available for this group at this time.


Primary Ideology

  • Ag = Anti-Globalization
  • An = Anarchist
  • En = Ethnic
  • Ev = Environmental
  • Le = Leftist
  • Re = Religious
  • Ri = Rightist
  • Se = Separatist
  • Su = Supremacist
  • Vi = Vigilante


  •  Ally
  •  Suspected Ally
  •  Rival
  •  Violence
  •  Mixed Relations


  •  Blue 0 - 1479 fatalities
  •  Green 1479 - 2958 fatalities
  •  Yellow 2958 - 4437 fatalities
  •  Orange 4437 - 5916 fatalities
  •  Red 5916 - 7396 fatalities

Lethality is calculated as the total number of fatalities from 1998-2012.


Icon sizes depict approximate relative sizes of the organizations.

  • Smallest 0 - 10 members
  •   11 - 100 members
  •   101 - 1000 members
  •   1001 - 10000 members
  • Largest > 10000 members

Other Notes

Icons with no color coding or ideology icon have no detailed data at this time, and are provided as relationship information only.