Chief of Syrian Revolutionaries Front says al Qaeda is ‘not our problem’

Jamal Maarouf, the head of the Western-backed Syrian Revolutionaries Front, said he refuses to fight al Qaeda as it is “not our problem,” and admitted to fighting alongside the al Qaeda branch as well as providing weapons to the group. His admission comes in a stunning article excerpted below from The Independent, which interviewed Maarouf in Syria:

Speaking from a safe house on the outskirts of the Turkish town of Antakya, Jamal Maarouf, the leader of the Syrian Revolutionary Front (SRF) told The Independent that the fight against al-Qa’ida was “not our problem” and admitted his fighters conduct joint operations with Jabhat al-Nusra – the official al-Qa’ida branch in Syria.

But while Maarouf and his men were happy to fight Isis, a group of predominantly foreigners, he said he would not go after Jabhat al-Nusra. “It’s clear that I’m not fighting against al-Qa’ida. This is a problem outside of Syria’s border, so it’s not our problem. I don’t have a problem with anyone who fights against the regime inside Syria,” he said.

Maarouf admits to fighting alongside Jabhat al-Nusra – one example being the offensive against Isis, whose brutal tactics were deemed too violent even for al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

While Maarouf maintains that their military supplies are too few to share, he cites the battle of Yabroud, against the regime, as an example of how his group shared weapons with Jabhat al-Nusra.

“If the people who support us tell us to send weapons to another group, we send them. They asked us a month ago to send weapons to Yabroud so we sent a lot of weapons there. When they asked us to do this, we do it.”

Longtime readers of The Long War Journal shouldn’t be surprised at Maarouf’s admission. We’re reported numerous times on the close working relationship between the Free Syrian Army, from which the Syrian Revolutionaries Front is drawn, and groups such as the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant and even the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. We’ve also noted that top Free Syrian Army leaders have praised the Al Nusrah Front as “brothers,” and senior Syrian National Coalition leaders have opposed the US government’s designation of the Al Nusrah Front as a terrorist group.

Despite this, the US as well as European countries have continued to forge ahead with backing first the Free Syrian Army and now the Syrian Revolutionaries Front.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.

Tags: , , ,


  • Tinu says:

    Every one knows that the FSA and all other groups in opposition are fighting in unison against the Baseer regime although the western countries prefer to call it a war for peoples’ freedom. If this war is won by the Al Qaeda like groups than, Syria will be a threat to the entire world and the miseries of the people will be compounded what it is even today!

  • Joseph says:

    Has anyone informed Mr. Maarouf that once they want the supplies and weapons he has, they will be his problem?

  • blert says:

    I find it worrisome when news reports float up about our President hashing out deals with Riyadh inre supporting fanatics in Syria.
    It’s already too late to stop total chaos.
    And anything along such lines would have to blow back into Iraq.

  • Buzz says:

    Bill, why hasn’t the US and it’s allies taken the “spiritual head “( ayman al Zawahiri ) of al qaeda out yet ? is the bad doctor getting to old ?

  • Abdallah says:

    to all those who say that al nusra will become their problem, please note that al nusra has never tried to steal supplies from other rebel groups. they even meditated an incident in regards to supplies between the FSA and Islamic Front.
    to those criticizing the rebels, first while they fight alongside the few thousand alqaeda linked rebels, they aren’t al qaeda. alqaeda is basically a friend of a friend. why shouldn’t they happily say their friends with al Nusra? al nusra has fought alongside them in every front, their fighters lead every charge against assad. when the rebels fought ISIS, it is al nusra who backed them up, while we sit here and do nothing.


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram