Ahmed Jibril (Arabic: أحمد جبريل; c. 1937 – 7 July 2021)[1][2] was a Palestinian militant and political leader who was the founder and leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC).

Ahmed Jibril
أحمد جبريل
Jibril in 2015
Founder and leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command
In office
Personal details
Bornc. 1937
Mandatory Palestine
Died7 July 2021
Damascus, Syria
Political partyPopular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command
ChildrenJihad Ahmed Jibril (deceased)

During the Syrian Civil War, Jibril was a notable supporter of the Assad government and PFLP-GC members helped government forces to fight the Syrian opposition. However, after clashes with rebels in Yarmouk Camp in Damascus, the PFLP-GC suffered defections and was forced to withdraw from the camp, and Jibril fled the city.[3]

Early life

Born to a Palestinian father and Syrian mother, Jibril's year of birth is given by different sources as 1935, 1937 and 1938 and his place of birth as Yazur, Jaffa, Ramla and Ramallah in Mandatory Palestine as well as Iraq and Syria.[4][5][6][1][2] When the First Arab-Israeli War began in 1948, his family moved to Homs, Syria, where he was raised.[6] He graduated from the Homs Military Academy[2] and served in the Syrian Army from 1956 until 1958, rising to the rank of captain before being expelled as a suspected Communist. In 1959, he founded the Palestinian Liberation Front. Beginning in 1965, he worked closely with the leadership of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah), including Yasser Arafat.[2] In 1967, he joined with George Habash to form the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Palestinian Marxist–Leninist and revolutionary socialist organization that combined Arab nationalism with the leftist ideology, and which was in conflict with Arafat.[2]

Break from the PFLP

In 1968, Jibril broke away from the PFLP because of disputes over the more revolutionary Marxism advocated by Habash and Nayef Hawatmeh.[2] He formed a new organization, the pro-Syrian "The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command" (PFLP-General Command).

Jibril never wavered from his belief that Palestine could only be liberated through military attrition. He joined George Habash and other splinter groups which opposed negotiations with the Israeli government. He launched a variety of inventive attacks, including the "Night of the Gliders" on 25 November 1987.

Leader of PFLP-GC

Samuel Katz's Israel vs. Jibril distinguishes the PFLP-GC and Jibril's strategy from the rest of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) by its emphasis on military training and equipment, and not on declarations and publicity stunts. This caused the group to fail to make a significant mark on the public debate. Since 1994's Oslo Accords, support for the PFLP-GC dwindled among Palestinians.

On 7 May 2001, the Israeli Navy seized a Palestinian boat filled with heavy weapons in the port of Haifa. Jibril is believed to have been behind the shipment of weapons, which were bound for the Gaza Strip.

During the Syrian Civil War, the PFLP-GC helped the Syrian Army to fight the Syrian rebels in and around Yarmouk Camp – a district of Damascus that is home to the biggest community of Palestinian refugees in Syria.[7] Several members of the PFLP-GC's central committee opposed this alliance with the government and resigned in protest.[8] By 17 December 2012, the rebels, which included Palestinians, had won control of Yarmouk.[9] Jibril fled Damascus, reportedly for the Mediterranean city of Tartous.[10] Palestinian left-wing groups—including the PFLP—berated Jibril and the PFLP-GC.[11] One PFLP official said that Jibril "does not even belong to the Palestinian Left. He is closer to the extremist right-wing groups than to revolutionary leftist ones".[11] On 18 December, the Palestinian National Council (PNC) denounced Jibril, saying it would expel him over his role in the conflict.[8]

Ahmed Jibril

In a 17 February 2017, Jibril did an interview with Al Mayadeen and expressed his hope that the Iranian military with others would fully back the future Palestinian war against Israel.[12]

Talal Naji succeeded Jibril as the secretary-general of the PFLP-GC.[13]

Personal life

Jibril's son, Jihad Ahmed Jibril, who headed the PFLP-GC's military wing and was in line to replace Jibril as leader of the group, was killed by a car bomb in Beirut on 20 May 2002.[14]


Jibril died of heart failure on 7 July 2021, in Damascus, Syria. After a funeral service in the Al-Othman Mosque in Damascus with his coffin draped in the Palestinian flag, he was buried in the Martyrs Cemetery of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp.[4][15][16][17]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Ahmed Jibril, head of Palestinian radical group, dies at 83". Associated Press (AP). 7 July 2021. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f В Дамаске умер Ахмад Джабриль, один из основателей НФОП [Ahmad Jabril, one of the founders of the PFLP, dies in Damascus]. NEWSru.co.il (in Russian). Israel. 7 July 2021. Archived from the original on 9 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Defectors from Syria-based Palestinian group seek arrest of fugitive leader". Archived from the original on 19 November 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b Traub, Alex (13 July 2021). "Ahmed Jibril, Militant Palestinian Leader Behind Attacks, Dies at 84". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2 November 2021. Retrieved 1 November 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  5. ^ Pearson, Erica (2011). Jibril, Ahmed (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications. pp. 316–7. ISBN 978-1-4129-8016-6 – via Internet Archive. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  6. ^ a b Svetlova, Ksenia (5 October 2021). "The Lost Battle of Ahmad Jibril". The Jerusalem Strategic Tribune. Retrieved 12 June 2023.
  7. ^ "Syria rebels 'clash with army, Palestinian fighters'". AFP. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Ahmad Jibril to be expelled from the PLO" Archived 19 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Al Akhbar (Lebanon), 18 December 2012.
  9. ^ "'Capturing Yarmouk camp another Syrian rebel gain'". 31 July 2007. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Palestinian faction leader Jibril leaves Damascus: rebels". Reuters. 15 December 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  11. ^ a b "PFLP on Defense in Gaza Over Ties to Assad" Archived 16 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Al-Monitor, 27 December 2012.
  12. ^ Middle East Media Research Institute. (20 February 2018). "Clip #5905 PFLP-GC Leader Ahmad Jibril: I Want To See Iranian Soldiers Fighting In The Galilee; We Shall March Into Jordan On Our Way To All-Out War With Israel, Whether King Abdullah LikesS It Or Not". MEMRI website Retrieved 12 April 2018
  13. ^ "Talal Naji Appointed as Secretary-General of PFLP-GC". actionpal.org.uk. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  14. ^ Lebanon exposes deadly Israeli spy ring, The Times Online, 15 June 2006.
  15. ^ "Ahmed Jibril, founder of pro-Syrian Palestinian guerrilla faction, dies at 83". Reuters. 7 July 2021. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  16. ^ "Head of radical Palestinian group laid to rest in Syria". ABC News. ABC News. 9 July 2021. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  17. ^ "Ahmed Jibril, founder of pro-Syrian Palestinian guerrilla group, buried in Damascus". Reuters. 9 July 2021. Retrieved 1 November 2021.

External links