The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, has accused the Shuhadaa Al Baydhaa brigade, led by a rebel named Abdulbasit Sarout, of secretly swearing allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s self-declared “caliphate.” The Shuhadaa Al Baydhaa brigade is based in the northern part of Syria’s Homs province.
According to Al Nusrah, Sarout’s men were assassinating people in the area and planning to carry out additional attacks using improvised explosive devices. Sarout was offered arbitration before a sharia court, but allegedly refused. Eventually, Al Nusrah raided villages controlled by Sarout’s men and it claims to have captured “spoils” from them.
Earlier today, on its official Twitter feed for the Homs province, Al Nusrah posted several photos of “medium and light weapons and ammunition” captured during the assault. The photos can be seen below.
There may be more to the story than Al Nusrah is letting on, however. Tensions between Al Nusrah and Sarout’s brigade have been brewing for months. In September, Shuhadaa Al Baydhaa released a video denying that it had joined the Islamic State. This illustrates that Al Nusrah has been circulating its allegation for some time.
Citing local sources, Syria Direct reported earlier this month that Al Nusrah isn’t telling the truth about Shuhadaa Al Baydhaa’s purported connections to the Islamic State.
“The regime established a security cordon across northern Homs and the adjacent southern Hama countryside more than two years ago, intending to block supplies originating in Turkey from moving south into rebel-held north Homs,” Syria Direct noted. This cordon “has mostly been effective,” but there is a small pocket of turf that allows the rebels to move weapons and supplies into the northern part of Homs. It just so happens that the villages controlled by Shuhadaa Al Baydhaa are in this area.
On its Twitter feed for Homs, Al Nusrah claims to have taken territory from Shuhadaa Al Baydhaa.
Pictures posted by Al Nusrah showing weapons and ammunition seized from the Shuhadaa Al Baydhaa brigade: