Untitled Agreement [between al-Nusra Front and Free Syrian Army, Mara al-Hurma, Idlib]

Middle East and North Africa
Agreement name
Untitled Agreement [between al-Nusra Front and Free Syrian Army, Mara al-Hurma, Idlib]
Agreement status
Multiparty signed/agreed
Interim arrangement
Agreement/conflict level
Intrastate/local conflict (Syrian Conflicts (1948 - ) (1976 - 2005) (2011 - )
The agreements relate to three different conflict contexts. Israel-Syria and Syria-Lebanon. The Syrian-Israeli conflict was a key factor for the Syrian intervention during the Lebanese Civil War, with Syrian-backed Palestinian Liberation Army units intervened in 1976 against the Palestinian/Leftist militias. Following a massacre at Tel al-Zaatar that year, Syria was forced to accept a ceasefire at a meeting of the Arab League. However, the Arab League also mandated an Arab Deterrence Force, consisting of mostly Syrian soldiers with token contributions from other Arab League states, thus further legitimizing the Syrian presence in Lebanon. During a second bout of fighting that began in 1989, caused by the formation of rival Lebanese regimes in East and West Beirut, the Syrian-backed regime won and in 1991 the ‘Treaty of Brotherhood, Cooperation and Coordination’ was signed to legalize the Syrian occupation as a means to ensure the security of Syria. Syrian forces were forced to withdraw in 2005 following possible involvement in the assassination of Lebanon’s President Hariri.

Syria-internal. In 2011, domestic upheaval following a wave of protests across the Arab World soon led to violent repression of protestors by Syrian government troops. The violence progressed steadily and by July 2011 the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was formed consisting of defected military units and new recruits. The FSA and rebel umbrella group known as the Syrian National Council represented the first attempt at coordinating rebel factions in late 2011. However, a steady influx of foreign fighters and increased sectarianism radicalised opposition groups, which relied on foreign funding. The nature of the conflict changed drastically in late 2013 as infighting among the opposition groups increased. One of the more significant developments was the split between the al-Qaeda outfits the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS), and Jabhat al-Nusra in early 2014 in addition to the intensified targeting of other rebel factions by ISIS fighters in particular, including the Kurdish Peshmerga, the FSA and other jihadist outfits. Since the summer of 2014, the conflict was further internationalized when ISIS announced the formation of an Islamic state eroding the state line between Iraq and Syria and also in mid-2015 when Russian forces intervened on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad government in Damascus.

Syrian Conflicts (1948 - ) (1976 - 2005) (2011 - ) )
Framework/substantive - partial (Multiple issues)
Conflict nature
Peace process
138: Syrian Local Agreements
Abu Abdullah Toum, Jabhat Al Nusrah [Signed]
Lt. Col. Gamil Raduon, Free Syrian Army [Signed]
[illegible third conflict actor]

Third parties
The agreement was signed in the presence of:
Abu Bakr / Ahrar Al Sham: Commander of the Ahl Al Bayt Brigade [Signed]
Abu Al Bara’a [illegible] [Signed]
Sheikh Abu [illegible], Jabhat Al Nusrah [Signed]
Sheikh Abu Al Nasr [illegible] [Signed]
Short agreement agreeing that the Sharia board shall implement the agreement which includes prisoner release, removing 'accidents'[?] related to the incident, ending the state of emergency between the two sides and redirecting fighters to the front lines.

Agreement document
SY_141011_Nusra Front and FSA, Mara al-Hurma, Idlib_EN.pdf []

Agreement document (original language)
SY_141011_Nusra Front and FSA, Mara al-Hurma, Idlib_AR.pdf []

Local agreement properties

Process type
Formal structured process
Explain rationale
-> Local issues only; external support mechanism; culture of signing
A formally-established mechanism apparently supported the negotiation between the signing groups, as the negotiation was signed by several witnesse. Moreover, this agreement cannot be linked to the national peace process. Indeed, both groups oppose the rule of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and reject the idea of a national negotiation to solve the conflict.
Is there a documented link to a national peace process?
Link to national process: articulated rationale
No link to the national peace process in Syria is mentioned in the agreement, neither it can be inferred from further research. First, the agreement does not involve local governance actors; and the signing parties themselves are not official state representative. Second, all parties to the agreement reject the national peace process, as it would maintain Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government in power.
Name of Locale
Mara al-Hurma, Idlib governorate
Nature Of Locale
GPS Lat/Long (DD)
35.550139, 36.541128
Participant type
Local armed group
Mediator, facilitator or similar
No mention of mediator or similar

Local agreement issues

Ritual/prayer and process (including use of scripture)
Page 1, In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Page 1, Allah says: “But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission.”

Page 1, In adherence to Allah’s orders, we, the Free Syrian Army in the northern Hama countryside from the southern Idlib countryside and Jabhat Al Nusra announce the following:

Page 1, 1, Both sides shall submit to Allah’s laws, to be implemented by an independent Shariah committee that is agreed upon by both sides

Page 1, Allah is the arbiter of success
Grievance List
Although the agreement does not refer to specific causes of the conflict, it lists four provisions to address local grievances.

Page 1,
1. Both sides shall submit to Allah’s laws, to be implemented by an independent Shariah committee that is agreed upon by both sides
2. All detainees from both sides shall be immediately released
3. Removing all of the accidents relating to the incident by both sides
4. Ending the state of preparedness and both sides sending more fighters to the frontlines
Cattle rustling/banditry
No specific mention.
Social cover
No specific mention.

The University of Edinburgh