U.K. media is reporting that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has established its own militia inside Syria. According to a Daily Telegraph report:
The Muslim Brotherhood has established its own militia inside Syria as the country’s rebels fracture between radical Islamists and their rivals, commanders and gun-runners have told The Daily Telegraph. Calling itself the “Armed Men of the Muslim Brotherhood”, the militia has a presence in Damascus as well as opposition hot spots like Homs and Idlib. One of their organisers, who called himself Abu Hamza, said that he started the movement along with a member of the Syrian National Council (SNC), the opposition alliance. “We saw there were civilians with weapons inside, so we decided to co-operate with them and put them under one umbrella,” he said. Hossam Abu Habel, whose late father was in Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s, said that he raised $40-50,000 (£25,000-£32,000) a month to supply Islamist militias in Homs province with weapons and other aid. The militias he funded were not affiliated to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the main rebel movement, added Mr Abu Habel. “Our mission is to build a civil country but with an Islamic base,” he said. “We are trying to raise awareness for Islam and for jihad.” The Syrian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood has been revitalised by the organisation’s success in Egypt, where it won both parliamentary and presidential elections.n In the early days of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, secular and Islamist rebels were both prepared to fight under the FSA’s banner and recognise the SNC as their political masters. But the FSA, dominated by defectors from the regime’s army, has fallen out with the SNC, whose leaders are in exile. It now has its own political front, the Syrian Support Group (SSG). This split has divided the revolution’s main international backers, with Saudi Arabia supporting the FSA and Qatar moving closer to the SNC and the Islamist militias.
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A post from August 2010 reported that the Shura Council of the Syrian Brotherhood had met in Istanbul to elect Riyadh Al-Shaqfa as the organization’s new general guide, noting that Al-Shaqfa and one of his deputies belonged to the organization’s “military arm.” Several weeks later, a post reported that the new leader announced that the “truce” with the Syrian government was at an end.
This is not the first report of the Muslim Brotherhood engaging in military activity. In September 2007, a post discussed a report that “combatants” from the Lebanese Muslim Brotherhood were fighting alongside Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon and that the group’s support of Hezbollah dated back to the 1980’s. At the time, this was the only known instance of armed Muslim Brotherhood units operating openly since the 1940’s.