Fatemiyoun Division

Status:
Top Alert – Entity designated / sanctioned for terror, WMD and human rights violation

Info:
Liwa Fatemiyoun is an Afghan Shia militia formed in 2014 to fight in Syria on the side of the government. It is funded, trained, and equipped by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and fights under the command of Iranian officers. By late 2017, the unit numbered between 10,000–20,000 fighters. According to the Iranian government, the group has suffered 2,000 killed and 8,000 wounded in combat in Syria since its establishment;

In August 2016, Iranian official Qurban Ghalambor was arrested by the Afghan government for recruiting fighters for the brigade. Ghalambor had served as representative for the Ali Khamenei’s office in Kabul;

Liwa Fatemiyoun is led by IRGC commanders and supplied by the Iranian military, while its troops are recruited from the approximately 3 million Afghans in Iran, the 6 million Hazara of Afghanistan, as well as Afghan refugees already residing in Syria. The recruits are typically Hazara, a Persian-speaking Shia ethnic group from central Afghanistan. The Iranian recruiters for Liwa Fatemiyoun are usually members of the Basij. The Afghans are promised Iranian citizenship and salaries of $500–$800 per month in return for fighting (usually a 3-month-long deployment to Syria). Many are illegal immigrants/refugees and/or criminals who choose recruitment over imprisonment or deportation, though the Iranian government generally claims that they are religiously motivated volunteers. Iranian media has claimed that the Iranian military provides Liwa Fatemiyoun fighters and their IRGC officers with Hashish to raise their morale;

According to Human Rights Watch, Liwa Fatemiyoun has recruited child soldiers, some of whom were as young as 14. Pro-Syrian opposition media has claimed, based off photographs, that Liwa Fatemiyoun fighters use Sarin gas grenades.

According to U.S. Treasury:
The Fatemiyoun Division, composed of Afghan nationals, and the Zaynabiyoun Brigade, consisting of Pakistani nationals, are IRGC-QF-led, Syria-based militias whose fighters are recruited by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its Basij militia mostly from Afghan and Pakistani refugees and migrants residing in Iran. The Fatemiyoun Division is an IRGC-QF-led militia that preys on the millions of undocumented Afghan migrants and refugees in Iran, coercing them to fight in Syria under threat of arrest or deportation. Several hundred Fatemiyoun Division fighters, including children as young as 14 years old, have died fighting Iran’s war in Syria, and the bodies of slain Afghan fighters have been flown back to Iran on board Mahan Air flights from Syria. Many Afghans from Iran have joined the wave of refugees arriving in Europe, including a number who have fled the IRGC’s forced recruitment. Former Fatemiyoun Division fighters have reported being arrested by Iranian security forces and offered a choice between prison, deportation, or “volunteering” to train and fight in Syria with the promise of legal residency. Afghan recruits receive little training prior to deployment to Syria, where many are thrust into dangerous front-line combat roles, resulting in significant casualties;

Fatemiyoun Division is being designated for providing material support to the IRGC-QF. Fatemiyoun Division, is designated under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, a counter-terrorism authority, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. OFAC is Fatemiyoun Division for assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF. Additionally, the IRGC-QF and the Fatemiyoun Division are also being designated under E.O. 13553, an authority that targets serious human rights abuses by the Government of Iran;

Ideology:
Shia Islamism

Involved In:
Military Weapon Program

Also Known As:
Fatemioun Brigade
Fatemioun Military Division
Fatemiyoun
Fatemiyoun Battalion
Fatemiyoun Force
Fatemiyyun
Liwa Fatemiyoun
Fatimid Banner
Fatemiyoun Brigade
Hezbollah Afghanistan

Established:
2014

Country:
Afghanistan

Address:
Syria
Mashhad, Iran
Yemen

Reason for the color:
» Added to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list maintained by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on 01/24/2019 pursuant to Executive Order 13224 which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism;

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