Previous posts have explored affiliates of the Iranian-backed Local Defence Forces (LDF) like Saraya al-Ra'ad (Idlib sector) and Saraya al-Muqawama (Latakia/coastal sector). Liwa Ashbal al-Hussein is another LDF affiliate but belongs to the LDF's Homs sector.
Emblem of Liwa Ashbal al-Hussein, featuring the flags of both Iran and Syria. The emblem includes the added descriptions: "Contingents of al-Hajj Abu al-Ayham, Units of the Dawn of the Mahdi."
Liwa Ashbal al-Hussein was set up around a year ago, through bringing together a contingent led by al-Hajj Abu al-Ayham with other contingents. The formation of the brigade, which is led by al-Hajj Abu al-Ayham, has led to additional recruitment. Members of Liwa Ashbal al-Hussein are said to originate from all the Syrian provinces (a standard talking point among auxiliary groups), but in particular they come from the Homs and Sahel [coastal] areas.
The other most notable leaders in Liwa Ashbal al-Hussein are Ali al-Kawsa (Abu al-Bara') and Hussam Attiyeh (Abu al-Hassan).
Liwa Ashbal al-Hussein members.
Abu al-Hassan in al-Sawana to the south/southwest of Palmyra.
As with other LDF units, Liwa Ashbal al-Hussein portrays itself as affiliated with both the Syrian army and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), since the LDF is essentially a joint project between the Syrian armed forces and the IRGC. Also in common with other LDF units, Liwa Ashbal al-Hussein can be seen as "special operations/assignments" group, having performed assignments in Aleppo and Deir az-Zor. At the present time, however, Liwa Ashbal al-Hussein is stationed in the Homs desert area: specifically, in the wider Tanf area that leads up to the borders with Jordan and Iraq. This area has of course seen tensions on account of the fact that the Tanf border crossing with Iraq is controlled by the U.S. and its Syrian rebel allies. U.S. forces have conducted airstrikes to keep the Syrian government and its allies away from the border crossing and prevent them from trying to take control of it. In this context, it should be noted that U.S. airstrikes have hit Liwa Ashbal al-Hussein's area of operations, though Liwa Ashbal al-Hussein does not claim to have lost fighters to those airstrikes.