Al Nusrah Front, Ahrar al Sham attack Syrian villages
Screen shots from the video of Al Nusrah Front and Ahrar al Sham's raid on three Syrian villages in Homs. Images from the SITE Intel Group.
The Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, an al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, has claimed that it and the Ahrar al Sham Islamic Movement attacked three Syrian villages in the province of Homs.
The Al Nusrah Front claimed that it and Ahrar al Sham "rose to attack the Nusayri [Alawite] villages of Maksar al-Husan, Job al-Jarrah, and al-Massoudiyya in the eastern countryside of Homs" on Sept. 10. The statement was released on Sept. 14 and obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
"These villages are located in the neighborhood of the Sunni villages, which are always hit with raids from these Nusayri villages and the barriers located on their outskirts, not to mention the indiscriminate arrests of their free Sunni children," the statement continued.
The Al Nusrah front said that the two jihadist groups pounded the villages of Job al-Jarrah and al-Massoudiyya "with 120mm mortar shells, Grad rockets, 57mm and 23 mm artillery, in addition to locally-manufactured rockets." The two groups seized "control of Maksar al-Husan for 10 hours," but abandoned the village after Syrian Army reinforcements arrived.
Ahrar al Sham is a Syrian Salafist Islamist rebel group that frequently fights alongside the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, al Qaeda's other affiliate in Syria. Two weeks ago, Ahrar al Sham posted at least two videos online showing its participation in the fighting in Maaloula, an ancient town northeast of Damascus known for its Christian population. The group admitted to fighting alongside the Al Nusrah Front in Maaloula [see LWJ report, Videos show joint Al Nusrah, Free Syrian Army attacks in ancient village].
The Syrian Islamic Front, an alliance of jihadist rebel groups led by Ahrar al Sham, rejects any US intervention in Syria against the Assad regime for its use of chemical weapons in the capital.
The Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic State of Iraq, despite a recent claim to the contrary, are active on all of the fronts in Syria and often execute joint operations with allied Islamist groups as well as with units from the supposedly secular Free Syrian Army. The two al Qaeda groups have been at the spearhead of the fighting and have conducted suicide attacks on every front. Attacks by the ISIL and the Al Nusrah Front have been recorded in Damascus, Hama, Homs, Aleppo, Idlib, Raqqah, Deir al Zor, Albu Kamal, Daraa, Hasaka, Latakia, Qusayr, and elsewhere.
For more information on the activities of the ISIL and the Al Nusrah Front in Syria, see Thomas Joscelyn's testimony to the House Committee on Homeland Security: Al Qaeda and the threat in Syria.