Al Qaeda’s rebranded guerrilla army in Syria is fighting alongside other jihadists, Islamists and Free Syrian Army-branded rebels in an offensive intended to break the Assad regime’s siege of Aleppo. Most of the participating groups belong to two coalitions: Jaysh al Fath (“Army of Conquest”) and Fatah Halab (“Aleppo Conquest”). These same two alliances tried and failed to break the siege earlier this year.
More than 20 jihadist, Islamist and other rebel organizations took part in the offensive to break the siege of Aleppo. It was likely one of the largest combined efforts in the history of the Syrian war.
The Uzbek Imam Bukhari Jamaat joins several other jihadist groups and rebel factions in the battle for the Aleppo neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsud.
Despite being forced largely underground in Iraq, Ansar al Islam continues to operate in Syria against regime and now Kurdish forces.
The cover story of the Islamic State’s recently released issue of Dabiq, an English-language magazine, is written by an alleged al Qaeda defector known as Abu Jarir ash-Shamali. The group has been trying to win over al Qaeda’s and the Taliban’s supporters, but Shamali’s piece criticizes Osama bin Laden’s jihadist legacy and the Taliban. Shamali also provides new details about how al Qaeda is currently structured.
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Ansar al Islam, an al Qaeda-affiliated group that operates in Iraq and Syria, has been cooperating with the Al Nusrah Front and the Chechen-led Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar in the fighting for two Shiite villages in northern Aleppo.
More than 30 training camps have been established by the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and allied jihadist groups in both Iraq and Syria since 2012.