Al-Nusra Front

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The Al-Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra (Arabic: جبهة النصرة‎) is one of the organizations fighting in the Syrian Civil War. Since July 2016, it has also been known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Arabic: جبهة فتح الشام‎, transliteration: Jabhat Fataḥ al-Šām). It has also been called al-Qaeda in Syria or al-Qaeda in the Levant.[1][2] They are a Salafist organization and want to create an Islamic state in the country.[3]

The group announced its formation on 23 January 2012.[4]The United States designated Jabhat al-Nusra as a foreign terrorist organization, followed by the United Nations Security Council and many other countries.[5] It was the official Syrian branch of al-Qaeda until July 2016, when it became a separate organization.[6][7] In early 2015, the group became one of the major components of the powerful jihadist joint operations room named the Army of Conquest, which took over large territories in Northwestern Syria. It also operates in neighbouring Lebanon.[8] In November 2012, The Washington Post described al-Nusra as the most successful arm of the rebel forces.[9]

In July 2016, al-Nusra formally separated from al-Qaeda and re-branded as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham ("Front for the Conquest of the Levant").[10]

On 28 January 2017, following violent clashes with Ahrar al-Sham and other rebel groups, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham merged with four other groups to become Tahrir al-Sham.

According to spokesmen of a moderate wing of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), in November 2012 Nusra had between 6,000 and 10,000 fighters, which was 7–9% of the FSA's total fighters.[11] Commentator David Ignatius for The Washington Post described Nusra then as the most aggressive and successful arm of the FSA.[11] The United States Department of State stated likewise: "From the reports we get from the doctors, most of the injured and dead FSA are Jabhat al-Nusra, due to their courage and [the fact they are] always at the front line".[11]On 10 December 2012, the U.S. designated Nusra a foreign terrorist organization and an alias of Al Qaeda in Iraq. That decision made it illegal for Americans to deal financially with Nusra. Days earlier, the American ambassador to Syria, R. Ford, had said: "Extremist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra are a problem, an obstacle to finding the political solution that Syria's going to need".[12]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Al-Qaeda Upgrades Its Presence in Syria". MEMRI. 25 November 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  2. "Academic paper: Al Qaeda in the Levant and the civil war in Syria".
  3. "Jabhat al-Nusra A Strategic Briefing" (PDF). Quilliam Foundation. 8 January 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  4. "Islamist group claims Syria bombs 'to avenge Sunnis'". Al Arabiya. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  5. "Terrorist Designations of the al-Nusrah Front as an Alias for al-Qa'ida in Iraq". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  6. "Syrian Nusra Front announces split from al-Qaeda". 28 July 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  7. "Zawahiri disbands main Qaeda faction in Syria". GlobalPost. 8 November 2013. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  8. Al Qaeda-linked group Al Nusra Front claims deadly car bombing in Lebanese capital Beirut ABC, 21 January 2014
  9. Ignatius, David (30 November 2012). "Al-Qaeda affiliate playing larger role in Syria rebellion". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  10. "Syrian Nusra Front announces split from al-Qaeda". 28 July 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Ignatius, David (30 November 2012). "Al-Qaeda affiliate playing larger role in Syria rebellion". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  12. "U.S. Places Militant Syrian Rebel Group on List of Terrorist Organizations". New York Times. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2015.