Birth name: Ahmed Hussein al-Shar’a;
Place of Birth: Al-Rafid, Syria;
Religion: Sunni Islam;
Rank: Emir of the Al-Nusra Front;
His father worked in the oil industry and published a number of books on economics. His mother was a geography teacher and has an MA. He has four brothers and two sisters.
Once Jawlani, also known as “The Conqueror Sheikh”, moved to Iraq to fight American troops after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he quickly rose through the ranks of al-Qaeda in Iraq, and reportedly was a close associate of its leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
After al-Zarqawi was killed by a US airstrike in 2006, al-Julani left Iraq, briefly staying in Lebanon, where he offered logistical support for the Jund al-Sham militant group. He returned to Iraq to continue fighting but was arrested by the US military and held at Camp Bucca. At that camp, where the US military held tens of thousands of suspected militants, he taught classical Arabic to other prisoners.
After his release from Camp Bucca prison in 2008, al-Julani resumed his militant work, this time alongside Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the then Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). He was soon appointed head of ISI operations in Nineveh Province.
Al-Julani released an audio statement on 28 September 2014, in which he stated he would fight the “United States and its allies” and urged his fighters not to accept help from the West in their battle against ISIS.
On 28 July 2016, al-Julani announced in a recorded message that Jabhat al-Nusra would henceforth go under the new name of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham [Front for the Conquest of Syria].
As part of the announcement al-Julani stated that the rebranded group has “no affiliation to any external entity.”
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