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.)
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