New US sanctions on two Qatari citizens expose Doha’s uneven response.
Sixteen jihadists, including 11 from the Al Nusrah Front and Ahrar al Sham, have issued a statement on behalf of the “muhajireen” (foreign fighters) saying they will continue to fight the Islamic State throughout Syria.
The “Battle of Victory” coalition, which includes the Al Nusrah Front and several other jihadist groups, has declared victory in the city of Jisr Al Shughur. The battle for the city began several days ago and was the next step in the jihadists’ plans for conquering all of northwestern Syria. A highly influential al Qaeda-linked ideologue was reportedly wounded in the fighting.
Abu Muhammad al Julani, the leader of the Al Nusrah Front, said the jihadist coalition that took control of Idlib should remain united. He also stated that the jihadists should avoid “terrorizing” the people in order to build more popular support.
Jihadist ideologues, including several who have backed al Qaeda against the Islamic State, have proposed a truce between the rival factions in Syria. The initiative is similar to the calls made by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, both of which have urged the jihadists to unite against the “Crusader” West.