Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP)


Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) is a Uighur foreign fighter group that has been fighting alongside other extremists against Bashar al-Assad’s rule since 2012 but was not formally established in Syria until 2015.* The group originated in Afghanistan, where its top leadership remains today.* Many of the fighters moved to Syria with their families, fleeing persecution and genocide in China, while other fighters eventually married into local Syrian families.* Most TIP members have settled into the city of Jisr al-Shoughur, and the group has played a major role in anti-regime actions in the Latakia, Idlib, Hama, and Aleppo governorates.* TIP is among the rebel factions accused of using child soldiers.* Despite being sympathetic to al-Qaeda, TIP remains on good terms with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).* Indeed, TIP has always avoided conflict with other factions from across the ideological spectrum, including ISIS, and has therefore often served as a mediator between HTS and more hardline extremist groups.* HTS officials state that they have very close ties to TIP, which they view as a reliable and trustworthy ally who abides by the policies set forth by HTS leadership.*


Abdul Haq al-Turkistani (overall head, based in Afghanistan, former member of al-Qaeda’s Shura Council)*, Abu Omar al-Turkistani (veteran Taliban member)*, and Abu Muhammad al-Turkistani (veteran Taliban member, military commander of TIP)*

Base of Operations

Northwest Syria*


muhsinlar (unavailable)

Membership Size and Relevance

TIP consists of between 1,500 and 4,300 mostly Uighur foreign fighters, though there are also western and French-speaking Arab foreign fighters operating within the group as well.* The French foreign fighter faction Firqatul Ghuraba merged with TIP sometime in 2015, and the group now operates within TIP’s command structure.* TIP is affiliated with both al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and the group regularly quotes prominent members of the former, such as Osama Bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki.*

Recruitment and Propaganda

TIP has recruited within Syria, running training camps for children and adults, and has published videos calling on foreigners to travel to Syria and join the group.*

Violent Activities

Between May 2013 and May 2017, TIP carried out at least 13 suicide bombing attacks targeting Syrian regime and allied security forces in northwest Syria.* The group also operates as frontline infantry in support of other anti-regime factions—most notably the former al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front, now HTS. TIP has played key roles in the rebel offensives against Syrian regime positions in Latakia province and in the defense of rebel territory throughout Aleppo, Idlib, and Hama provinces.*


  • March 18, 2019: Abdul Haq al-Turkistani releases a video message addressed to the heads of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, as well as dozens of senior extremist clerics, calling on them to “articulate in your duas, your speeches, and your messages what has happened in Turkistan,” while denouncing the Chinese genocide of Uighurs.*
  • May 21, 2018: TIP releases a video celebrating al-Qaeda’s September 11, 2001, attacks on the Twin Towers in New York, and calling on westerners to immigrate to Syria and join the group in battle. In the video, TIP extensively quotes Osama Bin Laden. The video begins with the Bin Laden quote: “The ummah is out of the battle…It needs narratives that are relevant to its circumstances. It is no secret that the ummah is the supplier of the mujahideen, therefore we should be gentle with people by addressing them in an interesting discourse and avoid vociferous attacks, harsh criticism, or vilification of opponents.”*

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

In Their Own Words:

We reiterate once again that the brigades will directly target US bases across the region in case the US enemy commits a folly and decides to strike our resistance fighters and their camps [in Iraq].

Abu Ali al-Askari, Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) Security Official Mar. 2023
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