Syria Daily, Nov 18: Jabhat al-Nusra Denies “Alliance” With Islamic State


LATEST: Claimed Video — Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga in Kobane

A spokesman for the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra has denied assertions in mainstream media that it has allied with the Islamic State in northern Syria.

The Associated Press, the Daily Beast, and other outlets turned claims of the “alliance” — fed to them by the Syrian Revolutionary Force, defeated by Jabhat al-Nusra in in-fighting earlier this month, and by Free Syrian Army sources hostile to the Islamist group — into firm evidence.

See Syria Analysis: Mainstream Media Spread Disinformation “Islamic State, Al Qa’eda Reach Accord in Syria”

Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State split in spring 2013 as Al Qa’eda head Ayman al-Zawahiri recognized Jabhat al-Nusra as the leader of the jihadist movement inside Syria. The Islamic State subsequently broke with Al Qa’eda over the dispute, killing the senior official that al-Zawahiri named to mediate the conflict.

However, the Associated Press declared on Friday: “Militant leaders from the Islamic State group and al-Qaida gathered at a farm house in northern Syria last week and agreed on a plan to stop fighting each other and work together against their opponents.”

Abu Azzam al-Ansari, a spokesman for Jabhat al-Nusra in Idlib Province in northwest Syria, told Syria Direct in a story posted on Monday: “That is not true”.

Al-Ansari confirmed the story, posted by EA last Friday, that the commander of a mainly-Chechen group went to the Islamic State’s headquarters in Raqqa to seek a halt to fighting: “We sent a committee, headed by Sheikh Salah a-Din a-Shishani in order to bring about a reconciliation —- A ceasefire only, in order to busy ourselves with just the Alawites [the Assad regime].”

However, the spokesman also confirmed, “The committee was met with refusal by the [Islamic] State group.”

Al-Ansari spoke about the three sets of US attacks on Jabhat al-Nusra since its aerial intervention in Syria began on September 22. He commented specifically about the Obama Administration’s claim that it was not targeting Jabhat al-Nusra but a “Khorasan Group” planning terrorist attacks on the US and Europe.

Jabhat a-Nusra does not hide the fact that it is al-Qaeda, and Al Q’a’eda is the group that defeated the Americans in the Khorasan mountains [in Afghanistan and Pakistan], thanks to Allah alone.

Seeing as Al Qa’eda is the group fighting the Americans in Syria, they [the Americans] called Al Qa’eda the Khorasan organization in order to mislead people.

While insisting that the claim of a “terrorist cell” is a pretext for a US war on Jabhat al-Nusra, the spokesman responded to the question, ”

Of course we’ll face them everywhere — we will decide when and where.

Claimed Video: Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga in Kobane

Claimed footage of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga in the besieged city of Kobane in northern Syria, and of a nearby airstrike:

About 150 Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga arrived in Kobane at the end of October to help defend the city against the offensive of the Islamic State.

“Syrian Military Source”: Insurgents on Verge of Full Control of Daraa Province in South

In a rare admission of the Syrian regime’s difficulties, an anonymous “military source in the Syrian army” has told Al Monitor of the insurgency’s advances in the south:

The army’s control over the past few months was limited to the roads leading to the region through agricultural and rugged areas, while militants controlled the main roads to these villages.

The areas controlled by the Syrian army and the opposition-controlled regions overlap, which explains the ongoing confrontations on the frontlines there.

The fall of these regions had a negative impact on the old road between Damascus and Daraa as militants took full control of Nawa, al-Sheikh Maskin, and [the base of] Brigade 112, to put pressure on the main road and cut off supplies to the Syrian army in Daraa.

Analysts have raised the prospect that the insurgents could advance further to put pressure on the regime near Damascus; however, the military source pointed to another goal of the opposition: “[Insurgents want] to relieve the pressure on the town of Atman, located at the eastern entrance of Daraa, [under] siege by the army for months now.”

The source said the Syrian military feared that the insurgency might now establish full control over Daraa Province between Damascus and the Jordanian border.

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    They were not ordinary POWs or Journalists or aid workers. It’s as if Stalin had captured and executed Nazi commanders who has carried out mass executions, herding hundreds of people into village churches, locking the doors and setting them afire.
    Each was a barrel bomber of civilians who could have defected but stayed because the loved doing so. Encouraged by Assad, Putin and Khamenei, each killed thousands of Sunnis, bombing bread lines, markets, etc. with great enthusiasm.

    People who do that are equivalent to Hitler’s Totenkampf (death squads) and deserve not an ounce of sympathy. The fact that their executors were just as barbaric changes nothing. The Genocide Regime and its enthusiasts got a taste of its own medicine. Genocide enthusiasts in their families got to see the faces of the non-victims.

    • What you say may well be true, but you offer no names, ranks or documented evidence of the positions and activities of these people. It could be like Russians killing ordinary German soldiers.

      How do you know otherwise ?

      • Every source I’ve seen reports that the 15 executed were mostly regime air force pilots, not ordinary privates or members of Medicine San Frontiers. Regime pilots are the worst of the worst, chosen for their loyalty and willingness to support the civilian-killing attacks. Even the regime hasn’t denied the executed were all pilots or officers, yet you do. How much evidence must I supply on grounds of reasonableness?

        The non-pilots executed were reported local officers who served on bases that repeated shelled local civilians with artillery or dropped bombs on them. These guys were not captured in small towns along the coast but on those bases. My position is that officers who ordered such crimes are responsible for such crimes. Privates were were executed long since and included many Sunni conscripts who committed no such crimes. The 15 individuals executed in this case were obviously preserved by ISIS beause they were perceived as having high value to the Genocide Regime.

        • You said nothing in your original comment to suggest that they were “mostly” pilots.

          However, even if they were war criminals (which seems likely if they were pilots), prisoners-of-war should not be killed. They should be kept alive, to stand trial later.

          Obviously ISIS do not follow any of the usual rules of war, but that is no reason to cheer them on. They are no better than Assad, and maybe worse.

          • Don:
            I don’t see ISIS killing pilots even if they are war criminals. They would be a valuable source of intel and a bargining chip.Could ISIS make them fly those captured aircraft aganst Assad by threatening their families?

            • “Could ISIS make them fly those captured aircraft against Assad by threatening their families?” Probably not if the reports are true that the regime has been holding pilots’ families “for protection” since the start of the war.


    Jordan and Saudi Arabia be next to descend into civil war and that will definitely not be good for US national security. If only we could turn back the clock and udo the worst foreign policy decisions in 200 years of American history. That the Great Appeaser (aka Mr. Dithers, Khamenei’s Boy Friend, His Impotency, His Hesitancy, President No Learn” etc.

    –IF ONLY Assad had agree to demands for democracy in 2011.

    –IF ONLY Putin and Khamenei hadn’t encouraged him to crackdown “as much as it takes”–a policy they favor in their home countries.

    –IF ONLY Obama had listened to Hillary, Gates, Petreus and Panetta instead of McDonough, Blinken, Rice, etc. in 2011 instead of passively supporting genocide and radicalization via the idea of “stalemate promotion.”

    –IF ONLY Obama had honored his Red Line instead of backing down after a 15 minute Rose Garden chat with the infamous McDonough.

    –IF ONLY Obama hadn’t stood buy for weeks, chanting “this has nothing to do with us and can’t effect us” as the regime and ISIS teamed up for over two months to drive rebels out of ISIS–the victory that enabled ISIS to do everything that followed.

    –IF ONLY Obama hadn’t spent so much time on his knees sloppering over the shors of Putin and Iran you can bet they’d have behaved with more restraint in both the region and in the Ukraine.

    Obama is the second coming of Neville Chamberlain but even worse. He makes Chamberlain look like George Patton by comparison. Obama’s proposition that “a stitch in time never saves nine” has produced so many avoidable foreign policy “treats.” Even now he insists that even after Assad falls we must preserve what caused everything: Iran’s Great Shia Empire ruled by Iran which seeks to dominate all Sunnis by whatever force necessary. Can you think of anything more likely to keep the fire going?

    Obama can’t claim hindsight or say “I didn’t know?” His best advisors warned him but Obama blocked his ears, drove them off and kept the clowns whose advice he continues to follow to this very day. That bunch of losers should have listened to their betters. Every single thing their policies were supposed to prevent by contrast, it caused. You couldn’t produce a worse possible outcome if you set out to do so.

  3. BBC Asks: “Will Aleppo Fall to the Syrian Army?”

    “On both sides of its divide, many now predict it is just a matter of time before Syria’s second city falls.”

    Does it strike anyone as ironic that a puppet regime that pretends to represent most Syrians now depends totally on Lebanese, Afghans and Iranians and air power as it fights an enemy 98% made up of Syrians in support of Iran’s Shia alliance and puppet regime?

    Essential Questions in that case:

    1) “Will Obama stand by and allow it much as he did in Deir Ezzor earlier with disasterous consequences?

    2) “What kind of blowback will he face afterwards in Washington from both parties if the regime takes Aleppo with his collusion?

    3) Wouldn’t taking Aleppo be as much curse as blessing for the regime?

    Everyone assumes Assad could then rush off troops to other fronts. If he does, ISIS will move in and thousands of loyalists will be slaughtered. How would that play on the home front?

    It would soon become apparent to all sides that to some extent–as in Deir Ezzor earlier–the regime benefits from a continued rebel presence there.

    Remove the rebels and–as in Tabqa–ISIS can totally concentrate its resources on the regime. It could do so in terrain that provides ISIS with substantial protection from the air. Politically, I’m not sure Obama would be able to employ his air force there after failing to do so when it was the rebel forces who ISIS threatened. Another obstacle would be the withdrawal of Arab coalition members. The latter might not have great military impact but it would really undermine Obama politically.


    That policy would be shortsighted like most Obama moves to date. Hoping for political benefits, Obama would encourage more hostage taking in the long run and finance more ISIS fighters. But what else can Obama have in mind?

    Remember this is a president who swapped five top Taliban commanders for a deserter who got five of his fellow soldiers killed trying to rescue him.


    Rebels take over 2 villages at southern outskirts of Khan Arnabah. Source: Markioto0171.

  4. Interesting note in today’s article that the rebels have an additional goal to relieve pressure on Atman. The rebels seem to be opening so many fronts in the south and in Eastern Qalamon. The rebels just started a new offensive to take the only sizable populated area in Quneitra.

    While Damascus is not threatened yet, the rebels need to get to a point where they can threaten Damascus. At the same time they need to ensure they don’t leave fortified regime positions at their rear.

    Additional fronts are opening up in Latakia as well. A rebel assault in Southern Idlib/Northern Hama would be good timing to keep the pressure on.

  5. Defense One Sends Message to Mouse in the White House:

    “Stop Fearing Iran and Back the Free Syrian Army”


    Why the delay? One answer from U.S. policymakers: Iran…The consequences of the American half-measured approach in Syria have been stark…there are still FSA forces.. that can prosecute the fight against extremists if sufficiently resourced and backed by close air support…Effectively taking on ISIS requires taking manageable policy and human risks..

    Compared to the support that the U.S. military has offered to Syrian Kurds battling ISIS, the Free Syrian Army and anti-ISIS Arab tribes have received an undersized amount of aid despite having easily killed off in the past months more ISIS and al-Qaeda fighters than CENTCOM has to date.

    While Free Syrian Army units faced off against ISIS in the villages of Akhtarin and Marea in the northern Allepo countryside, Assad and Lebanese Hezbollah seized the opportunity in launching a renewed assault to cut off and starve Allepo. Without air cover, the Free Syrian Army forces that began the fight against ISIS in January are rapidly finding themselves out-gunned.


    Paradoxy writes: “Fighting is heating up in Latakia & regime is getting hit hard in Jabal Akrad; FSA 1st Costal Div advancing well towards Kafraya in Haffa.

    I expected this move and suggested its likelihood several days ago. This one, like earlier ones there, will be a “we’ll take whatever Assad wishes to give us” move. Why was it absolutely essential–a no brainer?

    Common sense says Lattakia’s defenders had to be thinned and previous regime reinforcements moved to other fronts. The move was logically essential to keep the regime from coping with simultaneous threats on so many other fronts? For the scheme to work, it was essential the regime be persuaded it was safe to move. It seems likely the video JAN posted a few days early of a large convoy headed south toward Khan Shughour was a clever diversion.

    Why haven’t those three cut off regime bases near Khan Shughour been attacked by now? I suspect its because that convoy is now engaged in the coastal offensive. Strategically the latter move makes more sense. It’s not as if the cut off bases are going to improve their position anytime soon. They can wait. Attacking Latakia now makes more sense and provides more air cover.

    Men, equipment and aircraft are going to have to be siphoned off from other intolerable situations to deal with this threat. Assad has no choice for a number of reasons.

    Reason #1: That the offensive is likely led by JAN and supported by other strong Islamist units–a sure panic inducer.

    Reason #2: As in two earlier Latakia offensives, the regime has been caught flat footed and he offensive’s goal is likely to be “take whatever the regime gives you.” If Assad does not respond strongly, rebels will expand their horizons accordingly. I believe this offense is open ended and flexible in its intentions.

    Reason #3: If JAN breaks into the Alawite heartland and Assad sends no help, discontent with the regime will be accelerated further. Present anger stems from military failures, the regime’s execution of its own troops, its backfire stunts in Sweida Province and its practice of letting troops die in hopeless situation while pulling out big shot officers with friends in Damascus.

    Meanwhile who is going to save regime troops in southern Daraa Province, or loyalists in Salimiyeh or Hezbollah in Lebanon?

    It’s one thing for Obama to attack JAN on the grounds that JAN was attacking rebels. Politically I’m not sure that he can afford to attack JAN when it is clearly going after the genocide regime in its heartland.


    Regime mourns Ahmad Jamal Shikha, a 17 year old Kataib al-Ba’ath platoon cmdr, who was killed in Aleppo by the opposition–Paradoxy.

    When you are reduced to making 17 year olds serve as platoon commanders, your manpower problem must be incredible.


    Rebels announce start “Battle of Khan Arnabah”- the biggest city in #Quneitra province–Markito0171.

    Oh, no! Not another anti-regime offensive! How many can Assad handle simultaneously? That’s the nice thing about having so much manpower and rebels benefitting further from ISIS backstabbing of Assad.

    Situation hopeless!!!


      If so, that’s not so bad an outcome after all. So long as doubts remain, rebels in the north should be assisted by air at least.

      A new report from the International Business Times suggests a change in regime policy both in the north, where rebels could get less weapons (but hopefully air support), and in the south, where they could get more. Perhaps the unity,moderation, discipline and professionalism of rebels in the south has caused Obama to rethink his plan to build an anti-ISIS army from scratch in Jordan over two years. As I wrote yesterday, rebels there represent a huge opportunity to accelerate events in favor of moderation. See my other proposals in that post. Here’s a link to the IBT article:

  7. What would the implications be if one of the US’s Arab allies in the bombing campaign in Syria just went ahead and bombed some of Assad’s forces?

    Say a convoy on its way to reinforce one of the fronts?

    ‘Mechanically’ it wouldn’t be had to do.

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