Islamic Front and Al Nusrah Front promote 'liberation' of border crossing
In a series of posts on their official Twitter feeds, the Islamic Front and the Al Nusrah Front are promoting the "liberation" of the Quneitra border crossing between Syria and the Israeli-controlled portion of the Golan Heights. The Islamic Front is a coalition of several rebel groups, including Ahrar al Sham, which is linked to al Qaeda. The Al Nusrah Front is al Qaeda's official branch inside Syria.
Both organizations have produced video tours of Quneitra, showcasing the defeat of Bashar al Assad's forces and their control over the area. The alliance of Islamist and jihadist groups launched a military offensive in Quneitra earlier this week.
The video shown above was released on one of Al Nusrah's official Twitter feeds. Toward the beginning of the video, a narrator says that "your brothers" in Al Nusrah will attack Quneitra because it is controlled by Assad's army and is a "strategic point" connecting Syria to the Golan Heights, which has been "occupied by the Jews" for nearly 50 years.
A montage of footage showing Al Nusrah's fighters assaulting Quneitra is then played. In one scene, a jihadist destroys a poster of Bashar al Assad. Al Nusrah's black banner is then raised over a Syrian government building.
About two minutes into the video an Al Nusrah Front leader, accompanied by several fighters, claims credit for the successful raid, referring to his organization as both Al Nusrah and as Al Qaeda in the Land of the Levant.
"We give the Islamic ummah news of the liberation of the Quneitra crossing, the Syrian-Zionist crossing, by the lions of monotheism from the Al Nusrah Front -- Al Qaeda in the Land of the Levant -- and their mujahideen brothers in other Islamic factions," the leader says, according to a translation obtained by The Long War Journal.
Al Nusrah's "mujahideen brothers in other Islamic factions" include members of the Islamic Front. A separate video, released by the Islamic Front, offers viewers a two-minute, 14-second tour of Quneitra after its "liberation."
Just over two minutes into the video, a brief scene of what appears to be a UN peacekeepers' outpost is shown.
Syrian rebels captured 43 UN peacekeepers during the raid on Quneitra, but thus far the UN has not named the groups responsible for their detention. It is not immediately clear what the purpose of the Islamic Front's footage is. A screen shot of the scene can be seen immediately below.
The Islamic Front and Al Nusrah have promoted the capture of the Quneitra border crossing in a string of other posts to their social media accounts. Below are pictures and screen shots from their official Twitter accounts.
The Islamic Front has been promoting the battle for Quneitra on both its English and Arabic Twitter feeds since Aug. 27, when the organization first announced the launch of the operation. The four screen shots below were taken from the Islamic Front's English-language Twitter feed:
The Al Nusrah Front announced the "liberation" of Quneitra in "collaboration" with other factions on one of its Twitter feeds on Aug. 27:
In this tweet on Aug. 28, the Al Nusrah Front announced that it had "liberated" the Quneitra border crossing in "conjunction" with other "brigades" from the region:
Al Nusrah raises its banner over the Quneitra border crossing:
This scene is from "within the ruined ancient city of Quneitra":
The logo on this captured jacket reads, "Counter Terrorism Unit":
In this photo, the Al Nusrah Front shows its "emir," or leader for the region, fighting during the battle for Quneitra:
Still other scenes shown on the Twitter feeds of both the Islamic Front and Al Nusrah highlight the two organizations' involvement in the Quneitra operation.