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.”