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.

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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:

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The Al Nusrah Front announced the “liberation” of Quneitra in “collaboration” with other factions on one of its Twitter feeds on Aug. 27:

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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:

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Al Nusrah raises its banner over the Quneitra border crossing:

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This scene is from “within the ruined ancient city of Quneitra”:

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The logo on this captured jacket reads, “Counter Terrorism Unit”:

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In this photo, the Al Nusrah Front shows its “emir,” or leader for the region, fighting during the battle for Quneitra:

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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.

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

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  • Greg Leichty says:

    Well, these weasels will attack the Golan sooner or later. Their impulses for self-preservation will b overcome by their desire for martyrdom against the Israelis. The first attack and these fools will be history.

  • Kent Gatewood says:

    Is there a buffer zone and is AQ in the zone?
    Does Israel have the right to kick them out of the zone?

  • Caleb says:

    As I noted a few days ago, the Western backed Syrian Revolutionaries Front is also taking credit for the “liberation” on their respective social media accounts, as well.
    Makes you wonder about who we’re arming and their allies.
    My post:
    — Caleb
    Also, as I will speculate tonight in an upcoming post, could these groups be sharing control of the border crossing?

  • g says:

    It seems to me that the use of the internet, cell phones, other technologies and jihadi rap music would be illegal under any nominally strict Sharia law. All of these things are by-products of western education and capitalism and are the embodiment of western culture. Using them endorses our way of life. Is there a way that this hypocrisy can be highlighted to either get the impressionable target recruits to realize this or persuade the terrorist leaders that they should ban using technology?
    I am sure the latter is impossible because of the effectiveness with which they use social media but the question should be asked over and over as it highlights that, like any other wannabe tyrant, the rules that apply are only those that are convenient. (Imagine, if you could get them to believe this the extension would be that they could not use any western technology and all the seized weapons would be off limits as well.)
    Long shot, i know.

  • blert says:

    This particular border crossing has no crossings.
    It literally sits in no-man-land between Israel and Syria. No meaningful activity has happened there in decades!
    One could well argue that the Fijians and Filipinos were not so much captured as woken up.
    Mayberry has seen more shots fired. Disarming Barney Fife — yeah, that’s first class jihad, all right!
    One might conclude that al Nusrah is hoping that the IDF reacts — somehow.
    I would not be too surprised if the UN withdraws the rest of its people from the Golan front. After all, the Syrian army has been (mostly) withdrawn.
    Under current circumstances, I can’t believe that any Syrian commander has deployed any serious military strength to the Golan since early 2013.
    Since the big calls are being made from Moscow, one should expect that Assad gradually pulls back to the coast. The interior offers nothing of value to Putin. Indeed, a collapse in Syrian crude oil exports is all to the good for Putin.
    His invasion of Ukraine must surely take total priority. This means that Moscow is in no position to really pump up Syria’s military.
    Unlike the Soviet Union, today’s Russia can only produce a trickle of modern arms. The S-400 missile is on allocation. It’s pricey, too.
    And Syria’s GDP has utterly collapsed. Assad is ‘running’ a basket case. Even with Iran’s proxy foreign legion (Hez) Assad is barely hanging on.
    His Kurdish ‘allies’ are sure to be wiped out during the next campaign season. They’ve got no military patron. Erdogan hates them. ISIS hates them.
    As long as ISIS (only) goes after Assad and al Nusrah, the American President will not act. That much is clear. Certainly, Turkey and Qatar support ISIS. (and Hamas)
    And in the backround: M198 howitzers give ISIS the heavy hand against either al Nusrah or Assad. The campaign season opens up in ninety-days. I’d expect these howitzers to shut down Assad’s air force. Putin has nothing on his shelf to counter them. Assad may not be able to even hold onto the coast!

  • Birbal Dhar says:

    “His Kurdish ‘allies’ are sure to be wiped out during the next campaign season. They’ve got no military patron. Erdogan hates them. ISIS hates them.”
    @blert – The YPG (If that’s what you are talking about) are not allies of Syria’s Assad. In fact they drove Assad’s army out of Syria’s Kurdish regions. Saying YPG is allies of Assad is like saying ISIS are close friends of Assad. The YPG are stronger than the Peshmerga in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Peshmerga ran away when ISIS took over key towns. It was only the YPG that saved the Peshmerga when they helped to rescue the Yazidis. Of course, the Americans also helped as well. Also the YPG have effectively stopped ISIS ever taking over areas in Syria’s Kurdistan, despite not getting any military help from outside powers. The YPG are not going to go away, they’re here to stay, unlike the ISIS, who will rot like the Third Reich did in 1945.


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