Al Nusrah Front, Jund al Aqsa fighters photographed in Syrian Revolutionaries Front stronghold in Idlib

Pictures released online and distributed through various Twitter accounts allegedly show jihadist Jund al Aqsa and Al Nusrah Front fighters in Jabal al Zawiya, Syria, which had previously been a stronghold for Jamaal Maarouf and his western-backed Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SRF).

In an assault that began last week, the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, supported by Jund al Aqsa, targeted the SRF and seized parts of its territory in Idlib province. On Nov. 1, the two jihadist groups pushed even further into SRF territory and effectively consolidated their control. The offensive kicked the SRF out of its major strongholds in Idlib, including Deir Sonbol, a village that served as a base of operations for the organization and its leader, Jamal Maarouf.

Jund al Aqsa, which means “soldiers of al Aqsa”, is a jihadist group fighting in Syria that is comprised mainly of foreign fighters; many of its fighters are Arabs from other Middle Eastern countries. The group does have a Syrian component, however. Jund al Aqsa often fights alongside Al Nusrah and Ahrar al Sham and is a member of the jihadist Muhajirin wa Ansar Alliance (not to be confused with Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar).

The released pictures detail Jund al Aqsa and Al Nusrah fighters in the village of Deir Sonbol and the wider Jabal al Zawiya region of Idlib. The photos showcase the fighters allegedly pulling up bodies from a well, a room where the SRF kept civilians and Islamic State fighters prisoner, and an alleged dungeon. Other photos show a destroyed jeep, an SRF flag burning, and piles of aid packages that were stockpiled by the SRF. One photo purports to be taken in the house of Jamaal Maarouf.

Al Nusrah has also released several pictures on one of its Twitter accounts purporting to show bodies in the aforementioned well. Video has also emerged that allegedly shows other bodies pulled up from the well. (The video is graphic and should be viewed with discretion.)













Caleb Weiss is an editor of FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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  • J. U. says:

    And AlQaeda with the US/saudis/qataris weapons in their hands now..
    Time to stop this BS CIA policy there, only the Syrian Army and its allied forces, alongside with the Kurds and US airstrikes, can reasonably finish off AlQaeda and ISIS, other salafists/islamists so-called “rebels” will all ultimately “surrender” (better to say “join”, forced or not) one of these two groups anyways, like most of them already did in Deir ez-Zor. And the possibility that ISIS and AlNusrah finally reconcile is still very high for me. This would even please Erdogan for sure…

  • bob says:

    If no outside Countries don’t want to put soldiers on the ground to fight in Syria, then the Americans should re examine their policy of not working with the Assad regime.
    With them (Syrian Army) having their ‘boots on the ground’, along with the Kurds and Iraqi army this, I believe is the only viable choice available to us. It doesn’t mean being best of friends, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and Assad has never threatened the west, was towing the line in regards to Israel, and has a standing army that we could work with in Syria to battle Isis and other radical islamist groups, ie; al quida!
    Something radical has to happen on the western powers side, either the idea floated above or a volunteer force made up of westerners, that want to fight with the Kurds. Train them and let them go fight, we fight them there or fight them on our streets, at home! Unacceptable!


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