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.
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.