PHOTO: Abu Jaber, the new leader of the expanded jihadist coalition Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham

Amid fighting between the jihadists of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and rebel factions, several groups have announced they are joining JFS.

Most of the Nur ed-Din al-Zinki Brigade — which was already sharing camps with JFS — Liwa al-Haq, Jabhat Ansar al-Din, and Jaish al-Sunna have merged with JFS, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra.

The bolstered coalition will be known as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (Liberation of the Levant Committee). The leader has been named as Abu Jaber (Sheikh Hashim al-Sheikh). He is a former commander of the largest rebel group Ahrar al-Sham, which is now leading factions opposed to JFS/Nusra.

It is unclear what position Abu Mohammad al-Joulani, the long-time leader of JFS/Nusra, holds.

JFS/Nusra launched attacks on rebel positions and headquarters across northwest Syria on Monday, taking the front west of Aleppo city and several villages in Idlib Province.

Ahrar al-Sham responded by announcing it will protect other rebel groups, and battalions with thousands of fighters soon joined the leading faction.

See Syria Analysis: A War Between Jihadists and Rebels?

The fighting between the jihadists and rebel factions is the most serious since November 2014, when JFS/Nusra defeated the Syrian Revolutionary Forces and Harakat al-Hazm, effectively disbanding those groups as commanders and fighters withdrew to Turkey.