Syria Daily, Sept 28: Jabhat al-Nusra’s Insurgents Warn US Over Airstrikes

LATEST: Claim — Assad’s Cousin and Ex-Head of Internal Security Makhlouf Flees Syria With Family

UPDATE 1900 GMT: More fallout from the US attacks on Jabhat al-Nusra, with a statement from leader Abu Mohammad al-Joulani and claims that the Islamist faction is moving closer to the Islamic State.

The Guardian’s Martin Chulov claims from a “senior source” that “al-Nusra and ISIS leaders [are] now holding war-planning meetings”.

Jabhat al-Nusra broke from the Islamic State in spring 2013 and has been fighting with the Syrian insurgency, which is in a battle with the jihadists as well as the Assad regime.

On Sunday evening, the head of Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Joulani, issued an audio message denouncing the US-led airstrikes and calling for unity against both the Islamic State and the West.

See Syria Feature: Following US Attacks, Jabhat al-Nusra Leader Issues “Warning to Infidels” & Call for Unity

Jabhat al-Nusra has warned the US-led coalition over airstrikes inside Syria, four days after the Islamist insurgents were hit by American missiles and lost scores of fighters.

Jabhat al-Nusra spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri said in a video posted on Saturday, “These states have committed a horrible act that is going to put them on the list of jihadist targets throughout the world.”

In the first day of its attacks last Tuesday, the US hit two Jabhat al-Nusra locations — one in a village in Idlib Province (pictured), one west of Aleppo — killing more than 60 fighters and at least 14 civilians.

The Americans said that, in addition to their strikes on the Islamic State, they had launched eight attacks — including most of its first wave of 47 Tomahawk missiles — against buildings in the two areas. They said they were targeting the “Khorasan Group”, an “Al Qa’eda-linked” faction which has emerged in US intelligence claims this month as an imminent terrorist threat.

On Friday, Syrians held their largest marches in months to criticize the US-led coalition for targeting insurgents rather than the Assad regime and to express solidarity with Jabhat al-Nusra.

See Syria Video Feature: US Airstrikes Bring Out Largest Protests In Months

In a Saturday statement, insurgents listed seven reasons for opposition to the airstrikes:

1. The Syrian people feel that the international community is not serious about overthrowing Assad regime. Moreover, many people believe that the coalition aims at keeping him in power.

2. Killing a big number of civilians in the first wave of missiles reminded the Syrian people of the regime approach. They became afraid that more civilians will be killed because of the inaccurate targeting of the coalition.

3. The first strikes targeted groups that Syrians do not consider as terrorist and support them for fighting back the regime, not having international jihad projects, not committing crimes, and not imposing its own ideologies on people.

4. The strikes were not accompanied by adequate arming of opposition fighters to prevent the regime from exploiting the vacuum that will exist later.

5. The ambiguous position of the coalition that listed groups other than the Islamic State as targets which gave an impression that all opposition groups are targeted.

6. The coalition attacks on hospitals, granaries, refineries and other infrastructure badly affected civilians just like Assad regime attacks.

7. The absence of no-fly zones that people have always needed increased people’s frustration.

Abu Firas, who reportedly came to Syria from Yemen in 2013, first appeared on video in March. He denounced the Islamic State, which had began its battle with Syrian insurgents two months earlier and had killed the envoy mandated by Al Qa’eda to remedy a split between the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra.

In August, Abu Firas was identified as Jabhat al-Nusra’s chief spokesman.

Claim: Assad’s Cousin and Ex-Head of Internal Security Makhlouf Flees Syria With Family

A reliable activist account on Twitter is claiming the flight from Syria of Hafez Makhlouf, a cousin of President Assad and former high-ranking intelligence officer, and his family:

Earlier this month, Assad reportedly dismissed Makhlouf from his post as head of the Internal Branch of the General Security Directorate.

Photo: Kurdish Refugees in Turkey Watch Fighting Across Border Near Kobane

Kurdish refugees in Turkey — many of whom fled the Islamic State’s offensive in northern Syria — watch fighting across the border, near the town of Kobane, between the Islamic State and Kurdish forces:


The jihadists have been pressing the Kurdish center of Kobane for two weeks, taking scores of nearby villages to the west, south, and east. Kurdish forces have held lines about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the town.

On Saturday, the US-led coalition launched its first airstrikes in the area.

Video of attack on an Islamic State position:

The coalition also struck Islamic State targets near Raqqa, the largest city controlled by the jihadists. Video posted on YouTube appears to show a civilian killed by the attacks.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.



    In the last two days, the Regime air-force attacks on #Daraa, #Qunaitra and #Ghouta areas have increased too much. Today, the Regime air-forces dropping dozens of barrel bombs over the Rebel-held areas in #Daraa province and E-#Ghouta since the morning. Yesterday Assad got Adra back. Today it was Dukhania’s turn.

    With an army that can’t fight its way out of a paper bag without foreign allies, the regime had no luck prior to Obama’s recent help in retaking either. This is no accident. Obama knew what would happen when he relieved Assad of the need to fight ISIS, gave the Genocide Regime a free pass and ordered his air force to attack Sunnis only, never the regime. He’s always favored Khamenei’s thugs and despised the Sunnis as everyone knows.

    Anti-ISIS tribes got bombed with regime chemical weapons Saturday while Assad’s airforce carefully avoided hitting ISIS forces there.

    • Whats with the sunni obsession?Always trying to break things down to the effect it will have on sunnis.Obama hates sunnis.Putin hates them.Daleks want to exterminate them.Be careful and do what sunnis want or they may bite you.Unfortunately most of the rebels are backward sunnis from the countryside of Syria (FSA).So they get killed a lot.The SAA is made up of a portion of sunnis.They die as well.Then you have the terror groups IS and Nusra.Sunnis just by chance and they are being beaten up.Then kurds,who are mainly sunni i believe,killing sunnis trying to cut their heads off.

      • it could be that he is a frustrated sunni teenager living in europe, one step away from joining IS, to fight against the devil dog Obama and his kuffar shia non muslim henchmen

        P.S. any more info on your BS about Maklouf running to Belarus, or have we forgotten about that? new BS menu today?

        • hehe.The 47th is another one that pumps out possible this and possible thats.If one scenario pans out?Genius with Mukhabarat sources and ability to gather info from the upper echelons of the Syrian government.Might as well start quoting Sana and

        • It could be you’re a frustrated Shia teen in Europe longing for the day you can join the NDF and get in on some of that rape action.

      • In case you haven;t noticed, there are a bunch of regular commentators here who are either Sunni or Shia and in both cases persist in seeing the entire conflict through a completely sectarian lens.

  2. There is indeed a war on Sunnis being waged by Iran as part of its quest from dominance which, as in Hitler’s case and that of Putin, requires using a group abroad (Shia in this case, Germans and Russians in the latter, as willing tools of expansion. Obama is both collaborator and appeaser in this effort.

    Iran has been waging a war on Sunnis everywhere–Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and demanding all governments be under Shia control. This is what started all the problems. Iran gets as vicious as required, ranging from assassinations as in Lebanon to torture to genocide.


    While Jabhat al-Nusra members await imminent speech from leader Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, some ISIS members claiming “big news soon”. –Charles Lister.

    For those monitoring situation in Kobane (Ayn al-Arab), the ISIS offensive there has followed its consistent multi-stage strategy.–Charles Lister.

    OBSERVATION: Obama is using the excuse of fighting ISIS as an opportunity to help crush the enemies of the regime and Iran–rebels and Kurds alike. He deliberately delayed aid to the Kurds then provided too little, too late just so he could pretend he didn’t want them to lose.

    It’s so easy to be suspicious of this man’s intention. No one trusts a word he says–his allies, the Kurds, the rebels, Sunnis everywhere. WHY? Whose fault is it that no one trust him or sees him as pro-regime, and pro-Iran. You can’t blame people for not believing Pinocchio.

    Blame Obama’s never ending lies, his broken promises, his Rose Garden betrayal, his present use of the Air Force to assist Assad, and his genocide supporting stalemate strategy which aims to keep the regime afloat–a goal he shares with Iran and Hezbollah but one Obama tries to hide with occasional anti-regime rhetoric while doing nothing to stop Assad.

    As Laura Rozen asks. “how come US coalition not doing more to prevent fall of Kobani to Isis?” Dempsey must go. The man has half a brain.

    The Truth is: Obama WANTS Iran and Assad to win and will make every sneaky move he can to bring that goal about because he favors Iran’s plan for Shia dominance throughout the region.

    Never believe a word he says. Instead, watch what he does. I’ve posted earlier today on the gains he has enabled against the rebels. HIs real reason for boming JAN was to stop it from fighting against the regime and drive it to ISIS side so it could further help Assad. Once there, JAN will exclusively contrate on attacking the rebels–as Obama no doubt intended–and will cease all attacks on the regime Obama loves and safeguards.


      #1: International Business TImes

      #2: The Guardian UK

      #3 and #4: Brown Moses and Charles Lister of Janes’s

      “US-led air strikes are turning into the glue that binds Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State together,” tweets Brown Moses. LIster says much the same and there are plenty more. The same idiots who used the campaign against ISIS as an opportunity to attack JAN were surely responsible for early bungling.

      Using Occcam’s Razzor, the most viable hypothesis for so many insane decisions in Syria going back to 2011 is that Obama is and always has been. Discarding that one for the second best hypothesis: Obama is simply the most shortsighted, incompetent strategic thinker in the last 2500 years of world history. Unquestionably is alreay hands down worst US President in foreign policy over 200 years which might not be so damaging if he had not consistently rejected the best sources of advice and listening only to a small circle of pro-Iran, pro-Assad yes men who tell him what he wants to hear. That’s what I find inexcusable.

      Future sources of pressure on Obama:

      1. Any Kurkish defeats caused by his too little, too late policies.

      2. Any Rebel defeats caused by his “freebies” to the Genocide Air Force.

      3. HIs blunder in driving JAN to reunite with ISIS. The moment that happens, the press will be on him.

      4. His refusal to go after the Genocide Regime which, along with Shia Empire-Seeking Iran and Obama’s own apathy, caused all the sectarian warfare and made ISIS what it was.

      5. His proposal to wait a year and a half and then introduce a tiny rebel force on the ground while providing no arms in the meantime.

      6. His refusal of Turkish help on the ground based solely on a desire to preserve the Genocide Regime (especially its hated security services) and to appease Iran and kiss Khamenei’s butt.

      BROOKINGS VIDEO: Threat Assessment of ISIL In Iraq, Syria And Beyond

    • So Nusra now will ally with IS and become an Assad proxy?Nusra doesnt get taken off the worlds terror lists because you and some other rebel supporters decide you know better than the vast majority of the worlds governments and its peoples.They are terror groups that need eliminating,and thats that.Before i get asked about hezbollah,they are not on my countries terror list.So they dont concern me.

      • Nusrs is AQ. Full stop. The problem is only the rebels loosing their most capable fighting force….worst still if they join IS.

        • Magpie: “Nusra doesnt get taken off the worlds terror lists because you and some other rebel supporters decide you know better than the vast majority of the worlds governments and its peoples.They are terror groups that need eliminating,and thats that.”

          How about Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, the DFLP (GC) and Quds Force?

          • None of those groups you mentioned Ian are as dangerous as Nusra (alqaeda) or IS.Hezbo is not a terror group in my country.They were only put on Europes terror list last year.After some arm twisting as i recall.


    “Erodgan talk about ground forces in #Syria -Pandoras Box now is open.”—Markito0171

    Turkish Land Forces: 290,000 personnel & quite some equipment which are described here.

    Turkey insists the Genocide Regime as well as ISIS must go if USA wants its badly needed help. They need to get together with present US allies who, along with rebels, can threaten to withdraw from the fight with ISIS unless Obama turns on the Genocide Regime.

    Other advantages Turkey would enjoy:

    1. Geographical proximity: Syria is right next door and Aleppo a short ride.

    2. Fighting on one front, not on two like Iran.

    3. Better economy that Iran.

    4. Ironically Turkish intervention could relieve some present concerns re: Kurds. As long as the latter fight on its own, Turkey is resented. But if it joins in…Turkey will score big popularity points. This balances out the downside of potential problems with Alawites and pro-ISIS types in Turkey. The latter will be even a worse problem down the road unless Turkey acts now.


    (Earlier this week the Genocide Regime took Adra and Doukaniya with Obama’s assistance. A day ago Assad used chemical weapons there with Obama’s tacit approval once again).

    –Syrian Rebels retake Dukhaniya district near Jaramana in central.–TaziMorocco.

    –Many regime forces were killed in Doukaniya y’day by the opposition, including the operations leader Colonel Samer Ahmad Wasil’..Oppo hasn’t lost Doukhaniya to the regime, suck it up..–Paradoxy.

    –seems like, after chlorine attack, rebels retreated to draw in SAA forces, maybe left some behind (hidden), then counter attack–JHN

    ALEPPO: Say Bye Bye to SAA Brigade General (and thug) Thaer Mustafa Abbas who got himself killed on Aleppo–Khanasser–Hama road when his convoy was ambushed.

    –LATTAKIA: “The huge explosion heard in Mt. Tawba, Latakia last night was an oppo bomb at the Asphalt plant which regime had established as a base.”–Parodoxy.

    • another trick by the rebels, losing more area in e.ghouta, great strategic thinking, again the regime has been tricked into taking back more areas.

      Very smart rebels.

      P.S. has there been a single instance when TaziMorocco, didnt declare that the rebels have retaken an area, which was supposedly taken by the government earlier in the day?

  5. […] Wednesday morning’s statement from US Central Command was — unsurprisingly — buoyant. The US and allies from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and Jordan had launched attacks the previous day inside Syria, with 14 airstrikes and 47 Tomahawk missiles. Multiple targets of the Islamic State had been hit in northern and eastern Syria, including “fighters, training compounds, headquarters and command and control facilities, storage facilities, a finance center, supply trucks, and armed vehicles”. […]

  6. […] Wednesday morning’s statement from US Central Command was — unsurprisingly — buoyant. The US and allies from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and Jordan had launched attacks the previous day inside Syria, with 14 airstrikes and 47 Tomahawk missiles. Multiple targets of the Islamic State had been hit in northern and eastern Syria, including “fighters, training compounds, headquarters and command and control facilities, storage facilities, a finance center, supply trucks, and armed vehicles”. […]

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