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|Guardians of the Dawn|
حراس الفجرParticipant in the Syrian Civil War
|Active||2015 – present|
Christian holy war
|Allegiance||Air Force Intelligence Directorate|
|Leaders||Fadi Abd al-Massih Khouri|
|Headquarters||Various Christian towns throughout Syria|
|Area of operations||Syria|
|Allies|| Syrian Armed Forces
Various other pro-government militias
|Opponents|| Free Syrian Army
Army of Conquest
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
|Battles and wars|
The Guardians of the Dawn (Arabic: حراس الفجر Ḥurrās al-Fajr) are a coalition of Christian pro-government militias which are involved in the Syrian Civil War and affiliated with the Air Force Intelligence Directorate. Although the Guardians of the Dawn, whose official motto is "A homeland that we do not protect is one we do not deserve to live in", promote themselves as a Syrian nationalist force, their fighters are primarily motivated by a concept of holy war to defend the Christian areas of Syria from hostile rebels. The militiamen of Usud al-Cherubim, one of the coalition's constituent groups, even refer to themselves as "mujahideen of the cross".
According to their official leader, Fadi Abd al-Massih Khouri, the Guardians of the Dawn were established on 11 September 2015, when various Christian militias banded together to defend the Christian town of Maarounah from an attack by Jaysh al-Islam; as this ad-hoc alliance proved highly successful, the coalition was promptly formalized under Khouri's leadership. The idea behind its foundation was that the different Christian militias should help each other when their villages come under assault.
Initially, the new coalition was known as "Homeland Shield" ("Dir’ al-Watan"), and soon began to participate in various campaigns to defend or capture Christian localities in Syria: In late 2015 the member groups joined a government offensive in the western Homs Governorate, during which they helped to retake Sadad and Mahin from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. For these operations they received the official gratitude of Sootoro. In March 2016 the alliance adopted its current name, and later that year sent fighters to the northern Hama Governorate in order to defend a number of Christian villages from a Jihadist-led rebel offensive. The Guardians also took part in the fighting for Qamhana during the Hama offensive (March–April 2017).
Besides these campaigns, the Guardians of the Dawn are also very active throughout the Rif Dimashq Governorate, taking part in various offensives against rebel-held eastern Ghouta and the Siege of Darayya and Muadamiyat; the latter operation was partly framed by Usud al-Cherubim as "liberating its [Darayya's] churches". Khouri also ran as parliamentary candidate in the elections of April 2016, though failed to win a seat.