Al Nusrah Front claims joint operations, including a suicide assault, with Syrian rebel groups


The Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, claimed it launched two suicide assaults and other attacks with Syrian rebel groups, including an Islamist unit and two Free Syrian Army brigades.

The Al Nusrah Front made the claims in a series of statements released on June 27 by its official media outlet, the Al-Manara Al-Baydha' Foundation. The statements were obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

The attacks were carried out in conjunction with the Nasser Salahuddin Brigade, an Islamist group from the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front, and the Dera' al Assima, Liwa al Habib al Mustafa, and Liwa' al-Tawhid, three Free Syrian Army brigades that operate in Damascus.

The Al Nusrah Front said the two suicide assaults took place "in Eastern Ghouta in the countryside of Damascus" on April 22. Al Nusrah Front suicide bombers targeted two "barriers," or outposts, with explosives-packed cars.

"That was in order to open the way for the storming lions of the Al Nusrah Front and the Nasser Salahuddin Brigade to raid the two barriers and comb them," the statement said, according to SITE. The Al Nusrah Front claimed that "more than 150 soldiers" were killed and two tanks were destroyed in the operation.

In addition to the Ghouta suicide assaults, the Al Nusrah Front claimed to have launched multiple mortar and rocket attacks on April 22, with the help of the Dera' al Assima and Liwa al Habib al Mustafa brigades, against Syrian forces in the Damascus area.

And on April 10, according to a recent statement, the Al Nusrah Front and the Liwa' al-Tawhid Brigade executed a joint conventional military assault on a Syrian military unit.

"The raid started with two groups of immersers from the Al Nusra Front, with the support of a group from Liwa' al-Tawhid with a 23mm cannon and DShK" anti-aircraft machine guns, the statement said. The Al Nusrah Front fighters stormed the Syrian military positions and destroyed several tanks, the terror group claimed.

Free Syrian Army works with the Al Nusrah Front

The Al Nusrah Front is willing to work with Syrian rebel groups such as the Free Syrian Army, and in its official statements has admitted to doing so.

In October 2012, the Al Nusrah Front claimed it commanded elements of the Al Fajr [Dawn] Islamic Brigade, a known Free Syrian Army unit, as well as "Chechens," likely from the Muhajireen Brigade, during an assault on a Syrian air defense and Scud missile base in Aleppo.

And in August 2012, the Al Nusrah Front said it launched a joint operation with the Battalion of the Mujahideen of the Companions [Al Sahaba Battalion] against a police station in the countryside of Damascus.

The Al Nusrah Front has also cooperated with Free Syrian Army units to establish sharia, or Islamic law, in Aleppo and in eastern Syria.

One of the founders of the Free Syrian Army, Colonel Riyad al Assad, has welcomed the Al Nusrah Front on the battlefield and has described the group as "our brothers in Islam." Riyad made the statements in an undated video that was uploaded on YouTube in March.

"We have offered martyrs and other things and, accordingly, nobody should blame us for this matter," he said. "The Al Nusrah Front has proved that it is proficient in fighting and has treated the people very nicely."

Riyad then said the Al Nusrah Front "thus far have not done anything wrong to anybody," disregarding the facts that the group has executed suicide attacks that have killed civilians and enforces a harsh form of sharia, or Islamic law, in areas under its control.

The US government is backing the Free Syrian Army despite the group's known ties to the Al Nusrah Front. The Obama administration announced on June 13 that it would arm Syrian rebels against President Bashir al Assad, who is backed by Iran and Hezbollah, after accusing the Syrian government of using chemical weapons.

The CIA has begun moving light weapons and possibly anti-tank missiles from Jordan to Syria, where they are to be given to 'elaborately' vetted opposition elements. The CIA is considering using special operations teams from the US, Jordan, and the UAE to train rebels. US officials say the effort will aim to produce trained moderate fighters faster than the growth of the Al Nusrah Front, which has added "thousands" of fighters this past year. Meanwhile, Saudi officials have offered to identify 'trusted' rebel fighters to be given shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles.

But large numbers of Free Syrian Army fighters and even entire units are said to be defecting to the Al Nusrah Front. From Jan. 1 until the beginning of May, more than 3,000 Free Syrian Army fighters are thought to have taken their weapons and joined al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria.



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READER COMMENTS: "Al Nusrah Front claims joint operations, including a suicide assault, with Syrian rebel groups"

Posted by jay at June 29, 2013 1:16 AM ET:

I guess the war on terror is over. Because we just give weapons to Al Queda and they kill us with them. that' not a war, that is suicide.

Posted by Stephanie at June 29, 2013 3:44 AM ET:

The Arab and / or Islamic press seriously under-reports this kind of thing, BTW. Every day on Al-Jazeera you see how many people were killed by the Assad regime, but never a peep about the rebels killing anyone.

To add to the propoganda, BBC Farsi just did an explosive interview with Mohamed Al-Zawahiri in which he claimed that Al-Qaeda does not kill innocents. The interviewer very wisely asked him, "Well, then, what about the people in the World Trade Center? Were they not innocents?" But Mohamed Al-Zawahiri insisted that Al-Qaeda does not kill innocents, only the "enemies of Islam". WOW. I could post the link but unfortunately it's all dubbed over in Farsi.

I wonder if there is anything the US can do in terms of the propoganda war? Unfortunately the Islamists especially in Egypt have a lot of pull and I have a lot of doubt that the people would believe American infidels over devout, prayerful Muslims with long beards and bumps on their foreheads.

Posted by Knighthawk at June 29, 2013 3:45 AM ET:

So FSA brings the Colonels, ANF brings the suicide bombers, who's bringing the marshmallows?

Posted by Vivar from Spain at June 29, 2013 10:11 AM ET:

This is so sad. While the recent history of US foreign policy is full of unethical moves to prope up dictators or train death squads for the sake of real politik, I think the current move to arm the syrian rebels is not only a major mistake but probably the most hypocritical and henious crime committed by the US in recent times. It is a crime against humanity and against the values that the americans belive they defend.

How on earth can you send weapons to a rebel movement whose main forces are the same fanatic jihadists that are attacking americans in Afghanistan, the same bunch of killers who attacked your civilian population in 9/11 or who blew up Madrid citizens in their way to work in 2004. There should be a red line, even in the dirty arena of geopolitics. Does the ultimate goal of eroding Iran justify the ongoing massacres and beheadings of christians in syrian lands? A rebel victory in Syria will open the gates of hell for all the religious and ethnic minorities in one of the last minority-friendly lands of middle east. It's so naive, it's so insulting to think that US weapons are going to remain in the hands of the "good guys" (good? really?). This is sheer evil, it is evil because those who decide know perfectly whta the consequences will be.

You did it in Afghanistan against the russians. But in those days the great danger of islam fanaticism was not well known yet. Now we know how that ended, with the creation of Al-Qaeda and the taliban, with the CIA funded and trained Osama Bin Laden turning against their backers, with the women of Afghanistan back into slavery. Twin Towers, London, Madrid, Nairobi... Now you can not claim naiveness or ignorance. You KNOW what kind of monsters this sunni jihadists are. You know they cannot be trusted, You know they are a declared enemy of USA and of anything that it is not sunni fanaticism. But then you (and the british, and of course those corrupt dictators of Saudi Arabia and Qatar) you are surrendering the Syrian people to these beheaders. This move will sow sorrow and suffering, not only in the mideast, for the years to come.

Posted by o3 at June 29, 2013 1:33 PM ET:

obama's got aQ (& possibly hamas) fighting hezbullah which draws jihadists from all over the world into a circular firing squad.

this is the GWOT on steroids!

"when your enemies are fighting, stay outta the middle" churchill

Posted by mike merlo at June 29, 2013 2:49 PM ET:

Very Impressive on the part of those Forces opposing Assad.

"...'elaborately' vetted opposition elements." Sounds like another Sesame Street Bert & Ernie pictogram project by the Fumblelina's in the CIA.

Posted by Vivar at June 29, 2013 3:21 PM ET:

Stephanie, Al-Jazeera is just a tool in this war. It is the TV channel of the Qatar governement. And the Qatar government is the foreign governement most involved in arming and financing the rebels. So it is not a surprise to see its famous TV network waging media war against Syrian governement in favour of the jihadists.

Posted by Valkyrie at June 29, 2013 4:34 PM ET:

I really don't understand the US position. A global war on terror against Al-Qaeda and in Syria, the same forces are your allies? Do you believe that FSA/Al-Nusra will install a democratic government respecting human right and religious minorities? Also, is Syria supporting terrorism to a larger degree than Saudi Arabia (financially, manpower)?

You have lost me. In this case I see Assad as a lesser evil.

Posted by mike merlo at June 29, 2013 8:33 PM ET:

@Stephanie
"I wonder if there is anything the US can do in terms of the propaganda war?"

Actually there are a "handful of things" the US could do. One in particular would have a seismic impact of tectonic proportions. Unfortunately those in decision making 'positions' are lacking in just about every attribute necessary for articulating & venturing on such a course.

Posted by mike merlo at June 30, 2013 2:44 PM ET:

@Valkyrie
'think' Communist China & the US collaborating in support of the Khmer Rouge in opposition to Communist Vietnam 'expanding' in Indo China

Posted by Stephanie at July 1, 2013 3:47 AM ET:

Vivar,

Yes, to be expected from Al-Jazeera, but shame on the BBC for giving Mohamed Al-Zawahiri air time, especially on their Farsi channel which has a primarily Muslim audience.

Mike Merlo,

What would that one thing be? I'm curious!

Posted by mike merlo at July 1, 2013 4:32 PM ET:

@Stephanie
Honestly I'm reluctant to 'say.' I'd have everybody marching on my home with pitchforks & torches.

Posted by Stavy at July 2, 2013 1:53 PM ET:

This Clear evidence that any arms given to the FSA will end up in the hands of AQ. I believe the arms we gave to Libya fell into AQ hands back then and they started shipping them to FSA before we could even try to get them back.

It's my belief that is why Ambassador Stevens went to Benghazi on a clandestine State Department mission to stop those weapons from going to Syria via Turkey and causing an international incident with Russia. Why else would he knowingly risk going to such an insecure consulate without a full contingent of security and backup?

The administration could not let that knowledge get out so when the Benghazi attack occurred no help was sent and they tried to cover the whole thing up. Now we are officially sending arms over there but that is because Assad’s forces have been finding those weapons from Libya for a long time. I have seen videos of those captured weapons so they had to publicly state they are sending them now, knowing full well they will never get any weapons back. They know don't full well these weapons will end up in the wrong hands but what do they care? Its shameful!! Espcially the so called "Repbulicans" supporting this!!

This whole administration has been one international failure after another and our people have paid the price in blood and treasure. 2016 can't come quick enough as the people have no will to throw this administration out like the Egyptians are correcting their mistakes!

Posted by Tuandd at July 3, 2013 12:45 PM ET:

I guess the war on terror is over.

Posted by mike merlo at July 3, 2013 1:41 PM ET:

@Stavy
It should be noted that Ambassador Stevens met with a Representative from Turkey at the Benghazi Consulate prior to his demise

Posted by Kathy at July 5, 2013 12:35 AM ET:

Very sad situation. If Bashir al Assad falls, how long before the Syrians, like the Turks and Egyptians will revolt again, against the Brotherhood?

A better question is, when will we Americans take to the street in millions strong protests against our governments secret and senseless policies? Instead I hear a deafening silence as whistle blowers rot in prison, Bradley Manning is persecuted in a Kangaroo court, and the Administration hunts Snowden down in a desperate attempt to control the world. All the while we continue, yes, continue to provide arms to 'rebels,' which Bashir al Assad, Iran, China and Russia call terrorists.

At least Egypt won't be sending jihadists to Syria now that the Egyptian army has taken control.

The best comment I heard all week was when the President of Bolivia referred to the US and European allies as "the empires." Assad's comment that Political Islam was dead is just anticlimactic.

Posted by mike merlo at July 6, 2013 3:03 PM ET:

@Kathy
Manning & Snowden are Traitors.