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The Info List - Jabhat Al-Nusra


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Salafism

Wahhabism[3][4] Salafist jihadism
Salafist jihadism
[5][6] (a form of Islamic fundamentalism[7])

Groups See al-Nusra member groups

Leaders Abu Mohammad al-Julani
Abu Mohammad al-Julani
(top emir)[8] Abu Abdullah al-Shami (senior member) Ahmad Salama Mabruk † (senior member) Abu Hajer al-Homsi † (top military commander)[9] Abu Omar al-Turkistani † (top military commander)[10]

Headquarters

Deir ez-Zor, Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
Governorate, (2012–14)[11][12] Harem, Idlib
Idlib
Governorate, (February–November 2014)[13] Salqin, Idlib
Idlib
Governorate, (November 2014–March 2015)[14] Idlib, Idlib
Idlib
Governorate, Syria
Syria
(March 2015–January 2017)[15]

Area of operations   Syria
Syria
(Primarily in Northwest Syria, around the Idlib
Idlib
and Aleppo Provinces)  Lebanon[16]

Size 10,000[17]-20,000[18]

Part of al-Qaeda Mujahideen Shura Council (2014–present)[19] Army of Conquest
Army of Conquest
(2015–17)[20]

Originated as Islamic State of Iraq

Became Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham

Allies

Jund al-Aqsa Turkistan Islamic Party Caucasus Emirate Ajnad al-Kavkaz[21] Malhama Tactical[22][23][24] Ashida'a Mujahideen Brigade[25] Ansar al-Din Front[26] Ansar al-Islam[27]

Opponents

State opponents

 Syria  Lebanon  Iran  Russia  United States

Non-state opponents

Syrian Democratic Forces

People's Protection Units Army of Revolutionaries

Free Syrian Army Ahrar al-Sham Suqour al-Sham Brigade

Shi'ite groups

Hezbollah[28] Kata'ib Hezbollah Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq Al-Abbas brigade Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada

Islamic State and Islamic State affiliates

Islamic State of Iraq
Islamic State of Iraq
and the Levant[29]

Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade[30] Jaysh al-Jihad
Jaysh al-Jihad
[31] Islamic Muthanna Movement

Battles and wars

Syrian Civil War

Battle of Aleppo
Aleppo
(2012–16) Siege of Nubl and Al-Zahraa 2013 Latakia offensive[26] Inter-rebel conflict during the Syrian Civil War 2014 Idlib
Idlib
offensive al-Nusra Front– Syria
Syria
Revolutionaries Front conflict[32] 2015 Idlib
Idlib
offensive

Second Battle of Idlib[20]

Siege of al-Fu'ah and Kafriya Battle of Bosra (2015)[33] 2015 Jisr al-Shughur
Jisr al-Shughur
offensive Battle of Yarmouk Camp (2015) Qalamoun offensive (May 2015) Battle of Zabadani
Battle of Zabadani
(2015) 2015 Hama
Hama
Offensive Northern Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (2016) Idlib Governorate
Idlib Governorate
clashes (2017)

Syrian Civil War
Syrian Civil War
spillover in Lebanon

Battle of Arsal
Arsal
(2014)

Military intervention against ISIL

American-led intervention in Syria Russian military intervention in Syria

Al-Nusra Front
Al-Nusra Front
or Jabhat al-Nusra (Arabic: جبهة النصرة‎), known as the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Arabic: جبهة فتح الشام‎, transliteration: Jabhat Fataḥ al-Šām) after July 2016, and also described as al-Qaeda in Syria
Syria
or al-Qaeda in the Levant,[34][35] is a Salafist jihadist
Salafist jihadist
organization fighting against Syrian government
Syrian government
forces in the Syrian Civil War, with the aim of establishing an Islamic state
Islamic state
in the country.[36] The group announced its formation on 23 January 2012.[37] The United States
United States
designated Jabhat al-Nusra as a foreign terrorist organization, followed by the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
and many other countries.[38] It was the official Syrian branch of al-Qaeda until July 2016, when it ostensibly split.[39][40] In early 2015, the group became one of the major components of the powerful jihadist joint operations room named the Army of Conquest, which took over large territories in Northwestern Syria. It also operates in neighbouring Lebanon.[41] In November 2012, The Washington Post described al-Nusra as the most successful arm of the rebel forces.[42] In July 2016, al-Nusra formally separated from al-Qaeda and re-branded as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham ("Front for the Conquest of the Levant").[39] On 28 January 2017, following violent clashes with Ahrar al-Sham
Ahrar al-Sham
and other rebel groups, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham merged with four other groups to become Tahrir al-Sham.

Contents

1 Name 2 Ideology 3 Flags 4 Structure

4.1 Leadership 4.2 Hierarchy 4.3 Foreign fighters 4.4 Media

5 Relations with al-Qaeda 6 History

6.1 Origin 6.2 Strength in 2012 6.3 Relations with other Syrian rebels in 2012 6.4 Attacks by Nusra (2012–2013) 6.5 Split with ISIL (2013) 6.6 Open fights between Nusra–ISIL (2013–2015) 6.7 Attacks by Nusra (2014–2015) 6.8 Relations with other Syrian rebels in 2015-16 6.9 Russian air raids (2015–2016) 6.10 Speculations on a split with al-Qaeda (2015-16) 6.11 As Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (July 2016–January 2017) 6.12 Formation of Tahrir al-Sham
Tahrir al-Sham
(January 2017)

7 Territorial control 8 External support

8.1 Qatari support 8.2 Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
and Khorasan group

9 Weaponry and tactics

9.1 Chemical weapons

10 War crimes 11 Designation as a terrorist organisation 12 See also 13 References 14 External links

Name[edit] From 2012 to 2013, the al-Nusra Front's full name was the "Victory Front for the People of the Levant by the Mujahideen of the Levant on the Fields of Jihad" (Arabic: جبهة النصرة لأهل الشام من مجاهدي الشام في ساحات الجهاد‎, transliteration: Jabhat an-Nuṣrah li-ahli ash-Shām min Mujahideen ash-Shām fi Sahat al-Jihad)[43] Ideology[edit] The al-Nusra Front is primarily made up of Syrian jihadists.[44][45] Its goals are to overthrow Bashar al-Assad's government in Syria
Syria
and to create an Islamic emirate
Islamic emirate
under sharia law,[46][47] with an emphasis from an early stage on focusing on the "near enemy" of the Syrian regime rather than on global jihad.[48] Syrian members of the group claim that they are fighting only the Assad regime and would not attack Western states;[49] while the official policy of the group is to regard the United States
United States
and Israel as enemies of Islam,[50] and to warn against Western intervention in Syria,[49] al-Nusra Front leader Julani has stated that "We are only here to accomplish one mission, to fight the regime and its agents on the ground, including Hezbollah
Hezbollah
and others".[51] In early 2014, Sami al-Oraydi, a top sharia official in the group, acknowledged that it is influenced by the teachings of al-Qaeda member Abu Musab al-Suri. The strategies derived from Abu Musab's guidelines include: providing services to people, avoiding being seen as extremists, maintaining strong relationships with local communities and other fighting groups, and putting the focus on fighting the government.[52] On 10 June 2015, al-Nusra fighters shot dead at least 20 Druze
Druze
civilians in a village after one of them, a supporter of the Assad regime, opposed the expropriation of his house by a Nusra commander. Al-Nusra's leadership issued an apology and claimed that the killings had been carried out against the group's guidelines. Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs
magazine, which contends that Al-Jazeera
Al-Jazeera
is engaged in actively whitewashing Al-Nusra, said that there is absolutely no reference to the Druze
Druze
in Al-Nusra's "apology", since Al-Nusrah forced the Druze
Druze
to renounce their religion, destroyed their shrines and now considers them Sunni.[53][54][55] Nusra and ISIL are both against the Druze, the difference being that Nusra is apparently satisfied with destroying Druze
Druze
shrines and making them become Sunnis while ISIL wants to violently annihilate them as it does to Yazidis.[56] The tactics of al-Nusra Front differ markedly from those of rival jihadist group ISIL; whereas ISIL has alienated local populations by demanding their allegiance and carrying out beheadings, al-Nusra Front has cooperated with other militant groups and has declined to impose sharia law where there has been opposition. Analysts have noted this could give the al-Nusra Front a greater long-term advantage.[57] In early 2015, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri
Ayman al-Zawahiri
instructed al-Nusra Front leader Julani to pursue the following five goals:[58]

Better integrate his movement within the Syrian revolution and its people Coordinate more closely with all Islamic groups on the ground Contribute towards the establishment of a Syria-wide sharia judicial court system Use strategic areas of the country to build a sustainable al-Qaeda power base Cease any activity linked to attacking the West[58]

Both al-Qaeda and al-Nusra have been trying to take advantage of ISIL's rise by presenting itself as "moderate" compared to ISIL. While it has the same aim of establishing sharia and a caliphate, it intends to implement it in a more gradual manner.[59][60][61][62][63] Al-Nusra criticized the way ISIL fully and immediately instituted sharia since it alienated people too much, with a gradual, slower approach favored by al-Qaeda by preparing society to accept it and indoctrinating people through education before implementing the hudud aspects of sharia. They particularly criticised ISIL's enthusiasm for punishments such as executing gay people, chopping limbs off, and public stoning. However, Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
agrees that hudud punishments should be implemented in the long term.[64] The main criticism of defectors from ISIL is that the group is killing and fighting other Sunni Muslims, and that they are unhappy that other Sunnis like Jabhat al-Nusra are being attacked by ISIL.[65] A video called The Heirs of Glory was issued by al-Nusra, which included old audio by Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
(such as his 1998 announcement that "So we seek to incite the Islamic Nation so it may rise to liberate its lands and perform Jihad
Jihad
in the path of Allah, and to establish the law of Allah, so the Word of Allah may be supreme"). The video glorified the September 11 attacks
September 11 attacks
and the Islamists Sayyid Qutb and Abdullah Azzam.[66] Its magazine, Al Risalah, was first issued in July 2015. Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
leader al-Zawahiri urged ISIL fighters to unite with all other jihadists against their enemies and stop the infighting.[67][68] The Nusra Front praised the November 2015 Paris attacks, saying that even though they view ISIL as "dogs of hellfire", they applaud when "infidels" get attacked by ISIL.[69] In an Amnesty International
Amnesty International
report in July 2016, the al-Nusra Front has been accused of torture, child abduction, and summary execution. In December 2014, al-Nusra Front fighters shot dead a women execution-style on accusations of adultery. They have also stoned to death women accused of extramarital relations.[70] Overall, they have "applied a strict interpretation of Shari’a and imposed punishments amounting to torture or other ill-treatment for perceived infractions."[71] Flags[edit]

Flags of the al-Nusra Front

Flag of the al-Nusra Front, most commonly used until July 2016 

Flag of Tanzim Qaidat al- Jihad
Jihad
fi Bilad al-Sham - Jabhat al-Nusra (" Organization
Organization
of Jihad's Base in the Levant - Victory Front") used from April 2013 to July 2016 

Flag of Jabhat al-Nusra's branch in Lebanon
Lebanon
used from 2013 to 2014 

Variant flag of the al-Nusra Front, used 2012–16 

Flag of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham after July 2016 

Structure[edit] Leadership[edit] The leader of al-Nusra, a self-proclaimed emir, goes by the name of Abu Mohammad al-Julani
Abu Mohammad al-Julani
(also transliterated as: Mohammed and al-Jawlani, or: al-Golani), which implies that he is from the Golan Heights (al-Jawlan, in Arabic).[36] Prior to the formation of Jabhat al-Nusra, Abu Mohammad al-Julani
Abu Mohammad al-Julani
was a senior member of Islamic State of Iraq, heading operations in Nineveh Governorate.[72] On 18 December 2013, he gave his first television interview, to Tayseer Allouni, a journalist originally from Syria, for Al Jazeera, and spoke classical Arabic with a Syrian accent.[73]

Name Position Situation

Abu Mohammad al-Julani Emir

Founder and Emir
Emir
of al-Nusra Front[74]

Sami al-Oraydi Deputy Emir

Deputy leader and senior religious official in al-Nusra[74] Left the group after the formation of Tahrir al-Sham.[75]

Abu Maria Al-Qahtani Emir
Emir
of the Eastern area

Held the position of general religious authority and Emir
Emir
of the Eastern area until 30 July 2014[74]

Hierarchy[edit] The structure of the group varies across Syria. In Damascus, the organisation operates in an underground clandestine cell system, while in Aleppo, the group is organised along semi-conventional military lines, with units divided into brigades, regiments, and platoons.[36] All potential recruits must undertake a ten-day religious training course, followed by a 15–20-day military training program.[1] Al-Nusra contains a hierarchy of religious bodies, with a small Majlis-ash-Shura (Consultative Council) at the top, making national decisions on behalf of the group. Religious personnel also play an important role in the regional JN leadership, with each region having a commander and a sheikh. The sheikh supervises the commander from a religious perspective and is known as dabet al-shar'i (religious commissioner).[36] Members of the group are accused of attacking the religious beliefs of non-Sunnis in Syria, including the Alawis.[50] New York Times journalist C. J. Chivers cites "some analysts and diplomats" as noting that al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
"can appear less focused on toppling" the Assad government than on "establishing a zone of influence spanning Iraq's Anbar Province and the desert eastern areas of Syria, and eventually establishing an Islamic territory under their administration".[76] Foreign fighters[edit] A number of Americans have attempted to join the fighting in Syria, specifically with al-Nusra.[77] Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen, also known as Hasan Abu Omar Ghannoum, was arrested in California on 11 October 2013, on charges of attempting to travel to join al-Qaeda, after reportedly having fought in Syria.[77] As of November 2013, there had also been five additional publicly disclosed cases of Americans fighting in Syria, three of which were linked to al-Nusra.[78] In February 2015 charges of conspiracy to support terrorism were laid against six Bosnian-Americans who were alleged to have financially supported another Bosnian-American, the late Abdullah Ramo Pazara, who they alleged died fighting with al-Nusra in 2014.[79] It is estimated that al-Nusra's fighting force is approximately 30% foreign fighters and 70% local Islamists.[80] Nusra absorbed Katibat at-Tawhid wal-Jihad, an Uzbek group.[81] Katibat Imam al Bukhari is a part of al-Qaeda.[82] Child soldiers
Child soldiers
were used by Katibat Imam al-Bukhari.[83] al-Fu'ah and Kafriya were attacked by the group.[84][85] They also participated in the 2015 Jisr al-Shughur offensive.[86] Media[edit] All statements and videos by al-Nusra Front have been released by its media outlet, al-Manarah al-Bayda (The White Minaret), via the leading jihadist webforum Shamoukh al-Islam.[1] Relations with al-Qaeda[edit] In early 2015, there were reports that Qatar
Qatar
and other Gulf states were trying to get al-Nusra to split away from al-Qaeda, after which they would support al-Nusra with money.[87] Western observers[88] and a Syrian observer[58] considered such a split unlikely, and in March 2015, al-Nusra’s leadership denied a break-up or that talks with Qatar
Qatar
had occurred.[88] Other Syrian observers considered such a split conceivable[58] or imminent.[89] In December 2015, al-Nusra's emir Abu Mohammad al-Julani refused to dissociate from al-Qaeda's ideology and stated that even if the group leaves al-Qaeda, they would continue to enforce Sharia
Sharia
and wage jihad against their enemies. With members of al-Qaeda still enmeshed throughout the group's leadership, it can be considered that al-Qaeda is not "external" to the group. After the announcement, numerous senior al-Qaeda members still within the group have been targeted by the US in airstrikes.[90] The group's leader Abu Mohammad al-Julani, in his first recorded video message, stated its new name would be Jabhat Fateh al-Sham ("Front for the Conquest of the Levant").[39] During the renaming announcement in July 2016, al-Julani thanked al-Qaeda leaders Ayman al-Zawahiri
Ayman al-Zawahiri
and Abu Khayr al-Masri. Ahmad Salama Mabruk, an associate of al-Zawahiri, sat alongside al-Julani during the announcement.[91] Despite the group re-branding and announcing no external affiliations, the United States
United States
Central Command continued to consider it to be a branch of al-Qaeda and "an organization to be concerned about".[92] Al-Jazeera
Al-Jazeera
journalist Sharif Nashashibi noted that immediately after the rebranding, both the US and Russia
Russia
called it "cosmetic" and promised that air strikes would continue" against al-Nusra.[93] Journalist Robin Wright described the rebranding as an "jihadi shell game" and "expedient fiction"—a tactic known as "marbling" by jihadi groups—and that as of December 2016 Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
had embedded "two dozen senior personnel" in the group.[94] Writing shortly after the rebranding, Nashashibi argued that it might help generate more "regional support", which the group needed in the face of Syrian government
Syrian government
and Russian military success.[93] Wright wrote that the move was effective with many conservative Sunnis in the region, and that hundreds of them joined its ranks since the rebranding, believing the group to be "less extreme" than the rival Islamic State.[94] History[edit] Origin[edit] Upon the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War
Syrian Civil War
in 2011, Islamic State of Iraq's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
and al-Qaeda’s central command authorized the Syrian Abu Mohammad al-Golani to set up a Syrian offshoot of al Qaeda in August 2011, to bring down the Assad government and establish an Islamic state
Islamic state
there. Golani and some colleagues crossed the border from Iraq
Iraq
into Syria, and reached out to Islamists released from Syria's Sednaya military prison in May–June 2011 who were already active in fighting against Assad’s security forces.[36][95] A number of meetings were held between October 2011 and January 2012 in Rif Dimashq
Rif Dimashq
and Homs, where the objectives of the group were determined.[36] Golani’s group formally announced itself under the name "Jabhat al-Nusra l’Ahl as-Sham" (Support Front for the People of the Sham) on 23 January 2012.[36][95] Iraq's deputy interior minister said in early February 2012 that weapons and Islamist
Islamist
militants were entering Syria
Syria
from Iraq.[96] The Quilliam Foundation
Quilliam Foundation
reported that many of Nusra's members were Syrians who were part of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's Islamist
Islamist
network fighting the 2003 American invasion in Iraq;[36] Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari agreed to that in 2012.[97] The British The Daily Telegraph stated in December 2012 that many foreign al-Nusra fighters were hardened veterans from conflicts in Iraq
Iraq
and Afghanistan.[49] Strength in 2012[edit] By the second half of 2012, Jabhat al-Nusra stood out among the array of armed groups emerging in Syria
Syria
as a disciplined and effective fighting force.[95] Nusra in October 2012 refused a call for a four-day ceasefire in Syria
Syria
during Eid al-Adha
Eid al-Adha
feast.[98] In November 2012, they were considered by The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post
to be the best trained and most experienced fighters among the Syrian rebels.[99] According to spokesmen of a moderate wing of the Free Syrian Army
Syrian Army
(FSA), Nusra had in November 2012 between 6,000 and 10,000 fighters, accounting for 7–9% of the FSA’s total fighters.[42] Commentator David Ignatius
David Ignatius
for The Washington Post
The Washington Post
described Nusra then as the most aggressive and successful arm of the FSA.[42] The United States
United States
Department of State stated likewise: "From the reports we get from the doctors, most of the injured and dead FSA are Jabhat al-Nusra, due to their courage and [the fact they are] always at the front line".[42] On 10 December 2012, the U.S. designated Nusra a foreign terrorist organization and an alias of Al Qaeda in Iraq. That decision made it illegal for Americans to deal financially with Nusra. Days earlier, the American ambassador to Syria, R. Ford, had said: "Extremist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra are a problem, an obstacle to finding the political solution that Syria’s going to need".[100] Relations with other Syrian rebels in 2012[edit]

Al-Nusra Front
Al-Nusra Front
fighters during the Syrian Civil War.

In August 2012, there were signs of Nusra co-operating with other rebels. The group took part in military operations with the Free Syrian Army
Syrian Army
(FSA).[101] Abu Haidar, a Syrian FSA co-ordinator in Aleppo's Saif al-Dawla district said that al-Nusra Front "have experienced fighters who are like the revolution's elite commando troops."[102] In October–December 2012 Nusra received words of praise and appreciation for their efforts in the "revolution" against Assad from non-specified ‘rebels’,[98] an FSA spokesman in the Aleppo region,[103] a group of 29 civilian and military groups,[104][105] and the leader of the Syrian National Coalition.[106] At the same time, two anonymous FSA leaders,[49][98] and a secular rebel in north Syria,[49] expressed disapproval of the Islamist
Islamist
‘religious prison’ Nusra might be wanting to turn Syria
Syria
into. Attacks by Nusra (2012–2013)[edit] The 6 January 2012 al-Midan bombing was claimed by al-Nusra, in a video seen by AFP on 29 February 2012.[107] It was allegedly carried out by Abu al-Baraa al-Shami. Footage of the destruction caused by the blast was released on a jihadist forum.[108] The video asserts that the "martyrdom-seeking operation" was executed "in revenge for our mother Umm Abdullah—from the city of Homs—against whom the criminals of the regime violated her dignity and threatened to slaughter her son," SITE reported. The video shows "an excerpt of allegiances, operations, and training of the al-Nusra Front" as well as a fighter "amongst the masses in a public demonstration, advising them to do their prayers and adhere to the rituals of Islam."[citation needed] An al-Nusra-affiliated group announced the formation of the "Free Ones of the Levant Battalions", in a YouTube video statement that was released on 23 January 2012. In the statement, the group claimed that it attacked the headquarters of security in Idlib
Idlib
province.[109] "To all the free people of Syria, we announce the formation of the Free Ones of the Levant Battalions," the statement said, according to a translation obtained by The Long War Journal. "We promise Allah, and then we promise you, that we will be a firm shield and a striking hand to repel the attacks of this criminal Al Assad army with all the might we can muster. We promise to protect the lives of civilians and their possessions from security and the Shabiha [pro-government] militia. We are a people who will either gain victory or die."[109] The March 2012 Damascus
Damascus
bombings were claimed by Nusra.[37] The 10 May 2012 Damascus
Damascus
bombings were allegedly claimed by al-Nusra Front in an Internet video;[110] however, on 15 May 2012, someone claiming to be a spokesman for the group denied that the organisation was responsible for the attack, saying that it would only release information through jihadist forums.[111] On 29 May 2012, a mass execution was discovered near the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor. The unidentified corpses of 13 men had been discovered shot to death execution-style.[112] On 5 June 2012, al-Nusra Front claimed responsibility for the killings, stating that they had captured and interrogated the soldiers in Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
and "justly" punished them with death, after they confessed to crimes.[113] On 17 June 2012, Walid Ahmad al-Ayesh, described by Syrian authorities as the "right hand" of al-Nusra Front, was killed when Syrian authorities discovered his hiding place. He was reportedly responsible for the making of car bombs that were used to attack Damascus
Damascus
in the previous months.[114] The Syrian authorities reported the killing of another prominent member of the group, Wael Mohammad al-Majdalawi, killed on 12 August 2012 in an operation conducted in Damascus.[115] On 27 June 2012, a group of Syrian rebels attacked a pro-government TV station in the town of Drousha, just south of the capital Damascus. The station's studios were destroyed with explosives. Seven people were killed in the attack on Al-Ikhbariya TV, including four guards and three journalists.[116] Al-Nusra claimed responsibility for the attack and published photos of 11 station employees they kidnapped following the raid.[117] The murder in July 2012 of journalist Mohammed al-Saeed, a well-known government TV news presenter, was claimed by Nusra in a video released on 3 or 4 August, according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.[118][119]

The scene at Saadallah Al-Jabiri Square
Saadallah Al-Jabiri Square
after the attacks on 3 October 2012

The 3 October 2012 Aleppo
Aleppo
bombings were claimed by Al-Nusra.[120] Three suicide car bombs exploded at the eastern corner of the central Saadallah Al-Jabiri Square
Saadallah Al-Jabiri Square
killing 48 people.[121] More than 122 people were reported to be heavily injured.[122] The bombs targeted the Officers' club and the nearby buildings of the Touristic Hotel and the historic "Jouha Café". The hotel received major damage while the café was entirely destroyed. A small building within the Officers' club was ruined as well.[123][124] Al-Nusra Front
Al-Nusra Front
also claimed responsibility for attacking numerous Syrian military bases, including:

Aleppo
Aleppo
district: an air defence base, on: 12 October 2012 Aleppo
Aleppo
city: the Hanano barracks Raqqah: the Suluq barracks

In the air defence base assault they reportedly destroyed buildings and sabotaged radar and rockets after over-running the base in co-operation with the al-Fajr Islamic Movement and a group of Chechen fighters. During the storming of the Hanano barracks 11 soldiers were killed and they held the complex for six hours before retreating. They also claimed killing 32 soldiers during the raid on the Raqqah base.[125] In October 2012, they joined other rebels in an attack on the Wadi Deif base around Maraat al Numan, in a prolonged fighting that turned into a siege of the base.[126] They also led an attack on the Taftanaz Air Base in November 2012, an important and strategic base for the Syrian army, containing up to 48 helicopters.[99] The group seized three army checkpoints around Saraqeb at the end of October 2012, forcing the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
to withdraw from the area the next day. In the battle, 28 Syrian soldiers were killed as well as five Nusra fighters. Some of the captured soldiers were summarily executed after being called "Assad dogs". The video of these executions was widely condemned, with the United Nations
United Nations
referring to them as probable war crimes.[127][128] Members of al-Nusra Front carried out two suicide attacks in early November 2012. One occurred in a rural development center in Sahl al-Ghab in Hama
Hama
province, where a car bomb killed two people; while the other occurred in the Mezzeh neighbourhood of Damascus, where a suicide bomber killed 11 people.[129] The SOHR claimed a total of 50 soldiers were killed in the Sahl al-Ghab attack.[130] Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
reported on 23 December 2012 that al-Nusra Front had declared a "no-fly-zone" over Aleppo, using 23 mm and 57 mm anti-aircraft guns to down planes. This would include commercial flights which al-Nusra believed transported military equipment and troops. In a video sent to Al Jazeera, they warned civilians against boarding commercial flights.[131] In February 2013, Al Nusra fighters were involved in fighting in Safira with government reinforcements, preventing these forces from reaching their destination of the city of Aleppo. A monitoring group claims this resulted in more than two hundred casualties over a period of two weeks.[132] Though it was initially reported that Syrian Catholic priest François Murad was beheaded by Nusra at a church in Gassanieh in June 2013, he was actually shot dead.[133] As of June 2013, al-Nusra Front had claimed responsibility for 57 of the 70 suicide attacks in Syria
Syria
during the conflict.[134] In December 2013, al-Nusra abducted 13 nuns from a Christian monastery in Maaloula. They were held in the town of Yabroud until 9 March 2014, The nuns reported they had not been harassed and could keep religious symbols.[135] Split with ISIL (2013)[edit] By January 2013, Nusra was a formidable force alleged to have strong popular support in Syria,[95] and it continued to grow in strength during the following months.[136] In January 2013, the Quilliam counter-extremism thinktank estimated its membership at 5,000 fighters[137] with 2,000 trainees.[138] By July 2013, The Economist estimated its strength at 7,000 fighters.[139] Other size estimates, however, were more conservative; a report in the Turkish daily Hurriyet
Hurriyet
in March 2013 said that the group had increased its membership from around 300-400 jihadists to 1,000 as Syrian fighters in Iraq
Iraq
have returned to their country in the wake of the US designation of al-Nusra as a terrorist organisation.[140] On 8 April 2013, the leader of the then Islamic State of Iraq
Islamic State of Iraq
(ISI), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, released a recorded audio message on the Internet, in which he announced that Jabhat al-Nusra was part of his network,[141] and that he was merging Jabhat al-Nusra with ISI into one group, " Islamic State of Iraq
Islamic State of Iraq
and al-Sham" (ISIL), under his command.[95][142] Al-Baghdadi also said that Abu Mohammad al-Julani had been dispatched by the ISI to Syria
Syria
to meet with pre-existing cells in the country and that the ISI had provided Jabhat al-Nusra with the plans and strategy needed for the Syrian Civil War, and had been funding their activities.[142] The next day al-Julani rejected the merger and affirmed the group's allegiance to al-Qaeda and its leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri.[95] Al-Julani was quoted as saying, "We inform you that neither the al-Nusra command nor its consultative council, nor its general manager were aware of this announcement. It reached them via the media and if the speech is authentic, we were not consulted."[143] Nusra then split, with some members, particularly foreign fighters, following Baghdadi’s edict and joining ISIL, while others stayed loyal to Golani or left to join other Islamist
Islamist
brigades.[95][144][145] In May 2013, Reuters
Reuters
reported that al-Baghdadi had travelled from Iraq to Syria's Aleppo
Aleppo
Governorate province and begun recruiting members of al-Nusra.[146] Sometime in May 2013, al-Julani was reportedly injured by an airstrike conducted by the Syrian government.[147] In June 2013, Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
reported that it had obtained a letter written by al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, addressed to both Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
and Abu Mohammad al-Julani, in which he ruled against the merger of the two organisations and appointed an emissary to oversee relations between them and put an end to tensions.[148] Later in the month, an audio message from al-Baghdadi was released in which he rejected al-Zawahiri's ruling and declared that the merger of the two organisations into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
was going ahead. This sequence of events caused much confusion and division amongst members of al-Nusra.[145] In November 2013, Al-Zawahiri ordered the disbandment of ISIL and said al-Nusra should be considered the (only) al-Qaeda branch in Syria,[40] and bestowed the title "Tanzim Qa'edat Al- Jihad
Jihad
fi Bilad Al-Sham" ("the Qae'dat Al- Jihad
Jihad
organization in the Levant") on them, officially integrating Nusra into al-Qaeda’s global network.[34] Open fights between Nusra–ISIL (2013–2015)[edit] Some units of al-Nusra began taking part in clashes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
in late 2013.[149] In February 2014, after efforts to end the dispute between ISIL and Nusra had failed, al-Qaeda formally dissociated itself from its onetime affiliate ISIL, leaving Jabhat al-Nusra the sole representative of al-Qaeda in Syria.[150] In the same month, al-Julani threatened to go to war with ISIL over their suspected role in the killing of senior Ahrar ash-Sham
Ahrar ash-Sham
commander Abu Khaled al-Souri. Al-Julani gave ISIL five days to submit evidence that they were innocent of the attack to three imprisoned Jihadist
Jihadist
clerics, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, Abu Qatada
Abu Qatada
al-Falastini, and Suleiman al-Alwan.[151] On 16 April 2014, ISIL killed al-Nusra's Idlib
Idlib
chief Abu Mohammad al-Ansari together with his family, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.[152] In May 2014, open fighting broke out between ISIL and al-Nusra in Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
Governorate, leaving hundreds dead on both sides.[153] By July 2014, al-Nusra had largely been expelled from Deir ez-Zor Governorate.[154] Also in July, an audio recording attributed to al-Julani appeared online, in which he said that al-Nusra planned to establish an Islamic emirate
Islamic emirate
in the areas of Syria
Syria
where they had a presence. A statement issued on 12 July 2014 by al-Nusra's media channel affirmed the authenticity of the recording, but stated that they had not yet declared the establishment of an emirate.[155][156][157][158] In June 2015, al-Julani stated in regards to ISIL: "There is no solution between us and them in the meantime, or in the foreseeable future [...] We hope they repent to God and return to their senses ... if not, then there is nothing but fighting between us."[51] Attacks by Nusra (2014–2015)[edit] On 28 August 2014, militants from the group kidnapped 45 UN peacekeepers from Fiji
Fiji
from Golan Heights
Golan Heights
in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone.[159] The group demanded that it be removed from the UN's list of terrorist organisations in exchange for the lives of the peacekeepers. In addition to UN personnel, the group routinely captures UN vehicles to use as car bombs.[160] At the same time, two groups of UN peacekeepers
UN peacekeepers
from Philippines
Philippines
were trapped under fire in nearby Rwihinah.[161] On 31 August, one group of 32 Filipinos soldiers was rescued and the other group of 40 soldiers escaped.[162] The rescue operation was carried out by Irish peacekeepers.[163] Colonel Ezra Enriquez of the Philippines, who oversaw the operations, resigned over disagreements with Indian Lieutenant General Iqbal Singh Singha. Singha had allegedly ordered the Filipinos peacekeepers to surrender arms to ensure the safe release of the Fijian soldiers.[164] On 8 September, Rodrigo Duterte, the mayor of Davao City, called for Singha's death after he allegedly called the Filipinos soldiers cowards.[165] On 11 September, the kidnapped Fijian soldiers were released.[166] In late October 2014, al-Nusra began attacking some FSA and moderate Islamist
Islamist
groups that it was formerly allied with, reportedly in a bid to eventually establish its own Islamic state
Islamic state
in the cities it controlled in Idlib Governorate
Idlib Governorate
and other neighbouring Governorates.[167][168] In June 2015, fighters of al-Nusra massacred 20 Druze
Druze
villagers in Idlib
Idlib
province located in north-west Syria.[169] Al-Jazeera
Al-Jazeera
claimed that Al-Nusra's leadership apologized and blamed the incident on a few undisciplined fighters.[170] In October 2015, al-Nusra offered bounties worth millions of dollars for the killing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
and Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.[171] Al-Julani said he would pay "three million euros ($3.4 million) for anyone who can kill Bashar al-Assad and end his story".[172] In December 2015, two Army of Revolutionaries
Army of Revolutionaries
fighters were beheaded by Nusra, according to sources on social media.[173][174][175][176] In December 2015, Nusra fighters celebrated the ransoming and exchange of Lebanese army prisoners in the town of Arsal
Arsal
in Lebanon, according to sources on social media.[177][178] Relations with other Syrian rebels in 2015-16[edit] In 2015, rebel factions in southern Syria
Syria
vowed to distance themselves from the ‘extremists’ of al-Nusra in April 2015, but were seen cooperating with them in Daraa
Daraa
only days later.[179] During successful Syrian opposition
Syrian opposition
offensives in the northern Idlib Governorate from March until May 2015 (see also March–April offensive and April–June 2015 offensive), al-Nusra effectively coordinated its operations with Free Syrian Army, moderate and conservative Syrian Islamists, and some independent jihadist factions.[179] On 24 January 2016, Ahrar ash-Sham
Ahrar ash-Sham
expelled al-Nusra Front from the Syrian town of Harem, after tensions between the two groups boiled over. Subsequent clashes erupted in Salqin.[180] On 17 February 2016, nearly half of Jund al-Aqsa, numbering 400 fighters, joined al-Nusra. Five days later, two Damascus-based jihadist groups swore allegiance to al-Nusra.[181][182] On 25 February, al-Nusra Front withdrew from the town of Sarmada, near the Turkish border in the Idlib
Idlib
Province, in an attempt to prevent Russian warplanes from bombing the town after the implementation of the Syria ceasefire.[183] Jaysh al-Islam
Jaysh al-Islam
leader Zahran Alloush
Zahran Alloush
gave a speech on the merits of Hajj
Hajj
in 2013 and praised Usama bin Laden, addressing him by the honorific "Sheikh" and the honorific "rahimahu Allah" for making Hajj around 91 or 92 when Alloush was at the Islamic University of Medina.[184][185] Alloush addressed the Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
organization Jabhat al-Nusra as "our brothers", saying that "The summary of this issue is that we in Jaish Al-Islam praise our brothers of the Nusrah Front and we don't consider them Khawarij as is propagated against us, We fight alongside them and they fight alongside us".[186] After the death of Zahran Alloush
Zahran Alloush
he received condolences from Nusra[187] Russian air raids (2015–2016)[edit] Russia
Russia
sees al-Nusra as a terrorist organization.[citation needed] Russian air strikes reportedly targeted positions held by al-Nusra from September 2015[188] and Al-Nusra set a reward for the seizure of Russian soldiers.[189] In October 2015 Al-Nusra militant Abu Ubaid Al-Madani, who speaks Russian, released a video addressed to the Russians warning that they would massacre Russian soldiers.[190] Abu Mohammad al-Julani
Abu Mohammad al-Julani
called for Russian civilians to be attacked by former Soviet Muslims and called for attacks on Alawite villages in Syria.[191][192][193] In November 2015, al-Nusra fighters and Turkish-supported Syrian Turkmen Brigades were engaged in heavy fighting in Syria's northwestern Latakia Governorate
Latakia Governorate
against the Syrian government
Syrian government
forces supported by the Shiite militias and the Russian air force.[194] Speculations on a split with al-Qaeda (2015-16)[edit] On 29 July 2016 Al-Nusra leader Abu Mohammad al-Julani
Abu Mohammad al-Julani
announced the group changed its name to Jabhat Fath al Sham and had "no affiliation to any external entity".[195] While some analysts have interpreted this to mean breaking away from Al-Qaeda, the group and association with it were not specifically mentioned in the announcement, nor has it been said that Al-Nusra's oath of allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri have been renounced.[196] According to Sharif Nashashibi of Al-Jazeera, al-Qaeda had "given the split its blessing", and the separation "meant no change in the group's ideology".[93] With numerous senior members of Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
enmeshed within Al-Nusra, it can be considered that Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
are not "external" to the group.[196] To this extent, other analysts say that the announcement was cosmetic, a ruse to obfuscate their continued association and membership within Al-Qaeda.[93] In the time after the announcement, a number of senior Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
members have been targeted and killed by US air strikes, while operating within Al-Nusra[90][197] For over a year prior to this there had been speculation that the group would separate from Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
and about what it would mean. On 12 February 2015, SITE Intelligence Group cited rumours that Nusra leader al-Julani had plans to disassociate from al-Qaeda.[198] On 4 March 2015, Reuters
Reuters
reported that "sources within and close to al-Nusra" said that in the past months Qatar
Qatar
and other Gulf states had talked with Nusra leader Abu Mohammad al-Julani
Abu Mohammad al-Julani
and encouraged him to abandon al-Qaeda, promising funding to Nusra once that break-up was carried out. An official close to the Qatari government had confirmed to Reuters
Reuters
that Qatar
Qatar
wanted Nusra to become purely Syrian and disconnect from al-Qaeda, after which Qatar
Qatar
would start to support Nusra with money and supplies. Muzamjer al-Sham, reportedly a ‘prominent jihadi close to Nusra’ had said that Nusra would soon merge with Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar
Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar
and other small jihadi brigades and disengage from al-Qaeda, but that not all Nusra emirs had yet agreed to that.[87] On 9 March 2015, in a statement issued on Twitter, al-Nusra denied "completely all reports of a meeting with Qatari" and reports of a break-up with al-Qaeda. Expert Thomas Pierret at the University of Edinburgh assumed that Qatar
Qatar
was trying to force the hand of Al-Nusra with this "leak" about a split, and said a break with Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
was very unlikely. French expert on jihadism Romain Caillet agreed: "The overwhelming majority of Al-Nusra members want to stay in al-Qaeda, particularly foreign fighters who represent at least one-third of the organisation".[88] But in May 2015 Abu Maria al-Qahtani, the commander of al-Nusra in Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
province, still strongly advocated a split with al-Qaeda.[89] Muhamed Nabih Osman, leading a charitable organisation for former Assad prisoners, said to website The Daily Beast on 4 May 2015: "I think it will happen soon. You have to understand that al-Nusra consists of two very different parts and that one part, mostly local fighters, are not interested in global jihad".[89] On 7 May 2015, a Turkish official said that Turkey
Turkey
and Saudi Arabia were bolstering Ahrar al-Sham
Ahrar al-Sham
at Nusra's expense, hoping that al-Sham's rise puts pressure on Nusra to renounce its ties to al-Qaeda and open itself to outside help.[199] A "well-connected Syrian Islamist" cited in May 2015 by Charles Lister in The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post
said: "There are now two main currents... the conservatives are keen on keeping ties to Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
and the others are more inclined towards the new Syria-focused approach". Another " Islamist
Islamist
official from Damascus" is cited: "Nusra's disengagement from al Qaeda would be good for the revolution, but Jabhat al-Nusra will always be in dire need of al Qaeda's name to keep its foreign fighters away from IS. Most Jabhat foreign fighters will never accept to fight and die for what looks like an Islamic national project."[58] In late July 2016, through various sources, the Middle East Eye claimed that an organizational split from al-Qaeda is "imminent", with the proposal reportedly been approved by AQ leaders and proposed a new name called "Jabhat Fatah al-Sham", or the "Conquest of the Levant Front". However, the sources claimed that the move would not affect al-Nusra's al-Qaeda ideology and its plan to commit attacks on the West.[200] The organisation grew in early 2016. Charles Lister reported that "According to three Islamist
Islamist
sources based in the area, Jabhat al-Nusra successfully recruited at least 3,000 Syrians into its ranks between February and June 2016."[201] In mid-2016, reports suggested it was composed of around 5,000 to 10,000 fighters,[202] with the Russian ministry of defence estimating 7,000 fighters in Idlib province.[203] As Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (July 2016–January 2017)[edit] In August 2016, the BBC estimated Jabhat Fateh al-Sham as having 5,000-10,000 fighters, all Syrian.[204] Lister gave a figure of 10,000.[201] In July Jabhat Fatah al-Sham kidnapped the American journalist Lindsey Snell in northern Syria. She escaped to Turkey's Hatay Province
Hatay Province
in August and was subsequently arrested by Turkish authorities for being in a military exclusion zone and imprisoned.[205] The attempt to crash into Aleppo
Aleppo
was made by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and the Turkistan Islamic Party
Turkistan Islamic Party
[206] On 31 August, Hezbollah
Hezbollah
attacked a JFS outpost in the Qalamoun Mountains near the city of Arsal, Lebanon, on the Lebanon–Syria border, killing a number of their fighters.[207] On 8 September an airstrike of unknown origin killed the top JFS military commander, Abu Hajer al-Homsi (nom de guerre Abu Omar Saraqeb), among several other Army of Conquest
Army of Conquest
commanders in the countryside of the Aleppo
Aleppo
Governorate,[9] the rebels accused the United States
United States
of conducting the strike, but this was denied by the Pentagon and subsequently Russia
Russia
took responsibility.[9] On 3 October, Ahmad Salama Mabruk, an Egyptian JFS and al-Qaeda commander, was killed by a US airstrike against his vehicle in Jisr al-Shughur.[208] On 9 October, Jund al-Aqsa, after infighting between them and numerous rebel groups including Ahrar al-Sham, merged with JFS. In early October, according to pro-government media, a number of Mountain Hawks Brigade
Brigade
fighters defected to join Jabhat Fateh al-Sham due to several disagreements, mainly due to the established of the Free Idlib Army.[209] On 25 January 2017, they returned, along with their leader, Lt. Col. Nasha'at Haj Ahmad to the Mountain Hawks Brigade.[210] On 1 January 2017, a US drone strike killed Abu Omar al-Turkistani, a senior Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
member and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham military commander, along with 3 other JFS members near the town of Sarmada
Sarmada
in the northern Idlib
Idlib
Governorate.[211] The Uyghur Turkistan Islamic Party also counted him among their chiefs.[212] The next day, more than 25 JFS members were killed in an air raid by suspected US planes.[213] The Tora Bora battle saw Turkistani's participation.[214] The Islamic Jihad
Jihad
Union enlisted Turkistani as a member.[215][216] Jabhat Fath al Sham included Turkistani.[217][218][219] SOHR identified al-Turkestani from among the dead.[220] Before dying in Syria, al-Turkistani was in the Afghanistan
Afghanistan
war.[221][222][223] He was also the emir for the al-Qaeda-affiliated Ansar Jihad
Jihad
in Central Asia.[224] Europeans make up an amount while Central Asians make up the majority of foreigners in the Afghanistan-based Islamic Jihad
Jihad
Union which is allied to Al-Qaeda[225] On 19 January 2017, US airstrikes by Boeing B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers struck the former Syrian Army
Syrian Army
Sheikh Suleiman military base in western Aleppo, which was used by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, killing at least 110 al-Qaeda fighters,[226][227] including Abu Hasan al-Taftanaz, an al-Qaeda senior leader, along with some al-Zenki fighters. Since 1 January 2017, more than 150 AQ members were killed by US airstrikes in 2017.[228] Condolences were issued to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham over the killings, by the Uyghur jihadist Turkistan Islamic Party.[229] The training camp had been operated by al-Nusra Front and al-Zenki since 2013.[227] Outrage over the lack of condolences from other factions over an American bombing and killing of 100+ JFS members was voiced by Muhaysini.[230][231] On 21 January 2017, 5 factions from Ahrar al-Sham
Ahrar al-Sham
left to join the al-Nusra Front;- Jaish al-Ahrar, al-Bara, Dhu Nurayn, al-Sawa'iq and Usud al-Har Battalion.[232][233] On the same day, 2 al-Nusra Shura Council members based in Aleppo
Aleppo
announced that they left the group.[234] Ahrar al-Sham, the Suqour al-Sham Brigade, Jabhat Ahl al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam
Jaysh al-Islam
and Fastaqim Union
Fastaqim Union
then established a joint operations room to combat al-Nusra and its subfaction Jund al-Aqsa.[235][236] Abu Umar Saraqib and Abu Faraj's deaths received condolences from the Turkistan Islamic Party.[237] Formation of Tahrir al-Sham
Tahrir al-Sham
(January 2017)[edit] On 28 January 2017, several Salafist jihadist
Salafist jihadist
groups, including Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, agreed upon a merger agreement, resulting in the formation of a new group called Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham
Tahrir al-Sham
("Organization for the Liberation of the Levant").[238] With Jabhat Fateh al-Sham being one of the most powerful/influential groups in the new formation, its leader Abu Mohammad al-Julani
Abu Mohammad al-Julani
was appointed the high level position of overall military commander of the new group.[239] The only other position of equal or greater authority in the new group is the Emir, to which role was appointed Abu Jaber, who defected from Ahrar al-Sham
Ahrar al-Sham
to join this new group.[238] Territorial control[edit]

Military situation in the Syrian Civil War
Syrian Civil War
as of 000000002018-01-22-0000January 22, 2018.   Controlled by Syrian Arab Republic   Controlled by North Syria
Syria
Federation (SDF)   Controlled by the Syrian opposition
Syrian opposition
and Ahrar al-Sham   Controlled by Turkey
Turkey
and TFSA   Controlled by the Islamic State (ISIL)   Controlled by Tahrir al-Sham
Tahrir al-Sham
(al-Nusra)

(For a more detailed, up-to-date, interactive map, see Template:Syrian Civil War detailed map.)

As of late 2016, al-Nusra mainly controlled territory throughout Idlib Governorate, alongside other factions in the Army of Conquest.[240][241] It also held some areas in the Quneitra Governorate. External support[edit] At least one Arab government[242] has accused Qatar
Qatar
of helping al-Nusra.[243][244][4][245] In 2015, The Independent reported that Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
and Turkey
Turkey
were "focusing their backing for the Syrian rebels on the combined Jaish al-Fatah, or the Army of Conquest, a command structure for jihadist groups in Syria
Syria
that [included] Jabhat al-Nusra."[246] Al-Nusra has also been materially supported by multiple foreign fighters. Most of these fighters are from Europe and the Middle East, as pipelines to Syria
Syria
from those locations are better established and navigable.[247] However, as of November 2013, there were also 6 publicly disclosed cases of American citizens and permanent residents who joined or attempted to join al-Nusrah in 2013 alone.[248] The US Government has been sending weapons to rebels in Syria
Syria
since at least late 2013,[249] and perhaps as early as 2012,[250] during the beginning phases of the conflict (CIA's covert program Timber Sycamore). Some of these weapons have been reportedly falling into the hands of al-Nusra.[251] Weapons have been passed on to Nusra by Ahrar ash-Sham according to a Nusra member and rebels.[252] The Pentagon confirmed in September 2015 that a small group of US-trained New Syrian Forces rebels gave six pickup trucks and a portion of their ammunition to al-Nusra Front in exchange for safe passage.[253] There have been cases of al-Nusra combatants receiving medical aid in Israel and returning to fight. Former head of Mossad, Efraim Halevy, in an interview for al-Jazeera implicitly confirmed that such practices had taken place, as part of a general Israeli policy of treating wounded rebel fighters on the border.[254][255] However, Israel denies formal ties of any sort between itself and al-Nusra [256] and Elizabeth Tsurkov has reported that Nusra has refused to cooperate with Israel, in fact kidnapping and assassinating suspected collaborators. [257] Qatari support[edit] The Emir
Emir
of Qatar
Qatar
publicly admitted, in an interview with Christiane Amanpour, that he doesn’t always see eye to eye with American terrorist designations: "I know that in America and some countries they look at some movements as terrorist movements. ... But there are differences. There are differences that some countries and some people that any group which comes from Islamic background are terrorists. And we don't accept that. It would be a "big mistake," to consider every Islamic movement to be "extremists."[258] It has been suggested that one of the designated groups that the Emir
Emir
spoke of in this interview at CNN was Al-Nusra Front.[259] According to the Consortium Against Terror Finance (CATF), Qatar
Qatar
has been able to get away with funding Al Nusra, despite their terrorist designation, through Kidnapping for Ransom.[259] Al Nusra has, thus far, kidnapped a diverse group of people from nationalities that span the globe. They have been involved in kidnapping people from Turkey, Fiji, Lebanon, Syria, and Italy among others. In each occasion, Qatar
Qatar
engages in a substantial financial agreement with Al Nusra in exchange for hostages. CATF suggests that the U.S. turns a blind eye to Qatar’s funding of Al Nusra because Al Nusra is one of the only groups that poses a plausible threat to both ISIS and Assad.[259] According to the Institute for the Study of War, the reason why Al Nusra is the only plausible threat is because of Qatar’s funding: "Jabhat al-Nusra has become the best-armed force among the opposition groups. It has been at the tip of the spear in operations in Eastern Syria, Aleppo, and Damascus. Its combat proficiency and relatively greater access to material and funding have led other opposition groups to tolerate its participation in military operations across the country."[260] Qatar
Qatar
even managed the negotiations with al-Nusra Front that ultimately led to American writer Peter Theo Curtis’s release. Suggesting how happy the country is with its relationship to Al Nusra, Qatari Intelligence Chief Ghanim Khalifa al-Kubaisi was said to have sent a contact a text with the words "Done,"— and a thumbs up emoticon — after Curtis’s release was completed.[261] According to The Fiscal Times, Qatar
Qatar
has great influence over the group that goes beyond ransom payments. In many cases, Qatar
Qatar
acts as a political mediator between Al Nusra and other countries like Lebanon:[262] "A prisoner swap between the Lebanese government and al-Qaeda's branch in Syria, Al-Nusra Front
Al-Nusra Front
in early December showed how powerful the group has become on the ground. The deal released 16 Lebanese soldiers and police officers who were captured during a joint ISIS-al-Nusra operation along with 29 civilians, some of whom are known terrorists."[262] Indeed, Qatar’s mediation between Al Nusra and Lebanon
Lebanon
ultimately guaranteed al-Nusra freedom of movement inside what was once a safe haven in Lebanon’s Hamid valley, bordering Syria, giving Al Nusra access to the Lebanese town of Arsal.[262] But one Diplomat goes so far as to suggest that, beyond the scope of mediation and paying ransom, "They [Qatar] are partly responsible for Jabhat al-Nusra having money and weapons and everything they need." The diplomat even goes on to say that while Qatar
Qatar
hasn’t directly funded ISIS, it is responsible for the fact that ISIS gained Al Nusra weapons as members of Al Nusra are known to defect to ISIS.[263] Qatar’s support of Al Nusra has been highly criticized in both U.S. and U.K media. Indeed, Foreign Policy goes so far as to suggest that Qatar’s support for Al Nusra is just one more example of its hand in further destabilizing the entire region.[261] As a result, Qatar
Qatar
had to suppress some of the more overt Al Nusra fund-raising efforts launched publicly by its citizens. It has been suggested that while Qatar
Qatar
supports Al Nusra, it does so in a way to try and not alienate its Western allies.[264] Fellow Gulf countries Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain have publicly rebuked Qatar
Qatar
for its support of political Islamists like Al Nusra across the Middle East.[261] Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
and Khorasan group[edit] Main article: Khorasan group Khorasan, also known as the Khorasan Group, is an alleged group of senior al-Qaeda members who operate in Syria.[265] The group is reported to consist of a small number of fighters who are all on terrorist watchlists, and co-ordinate with al-Nusra Front. At an intelligence gathering in Washington, D.C. on 18 September 2014, Director of National Intelligence
Director of National Intelligence
James Clapper
James Clapper
stated that "in terms of threat to the homeland, Khorasan may pose as much of a danger as ISIS."[266] The term first appeared in news media in September 2014, although the United States
United States
had reportedly been keeping track of the group for two years previously.[267] Al-Nusra Front
Al-Nusra Front
leader Abu Mohammad al-Golani denied the existence of this alleged "Khorasan group" in an interview with Al-Jazeera
Al-Jazeera
on 28 May 2015.[268] Weaponry and tactics[edit]

An al-Nusra Front battalion training during the Syrian Civil War.

The organisation is believed to have used, at various times and in various places, the following tactics: car-bombs, suicide-attacks, targeting of checkpoints, conventional assault of military bases, assassination of political and military figures and members of the shabiha,[36] targeting (destruction/killing) of pro-government media stations and personnel. By June 2013, there had been apparently 70 suicide-attacks in Syria. Of these, the group denied responsibility for 13 but claimed responsibility for the other 57. In June 2012, the group attacked the pro-government TV station at Drousha, near Damascus. The following month the government-TV presenter Mohammed al-Saeed disappeared; the group later declared him dead. In June 2014, Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
reported that several rebel groups, including al-Nusra, have enlisted child soldiers into their ranks.[269] In November 2014, al-Nusra claimed to have captured U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles supplied by the United States
United States
to moderate anti-Assad rebels.[270] Al-Nusra Front
Al-Nusra Front
allegedly have an elite sniper unit known as the "Wolf Group". Training is conducted in Aleppo
Aleppo
by veteran jihadists who belong to the Khorasan Group, a collection of veteran al-Qaeda operatives sent from al-Qaeda strongholds along the Afghan-Pakistan border.[271] In October 2015, al-Julani called for indiscriminate attacks on Alawite villages in Syria. He said "There is no choice but to escalate the battle and to target Alawite towns and villages in Latakia".[192] Chemical weapons[edit] On 30 May, Turkish newspapers reported that Turkish security forces had arrested al-Nusra fighters in the southern provinces of Mersin and Adana near the Syrian border and confiscated 2 kg of sarin gas.[272][273][274] The governor of Adana claimed that the security forces had not found sarin gas but unknown chemicals, without offering further elaboration.[275] The Turkish Ambassador to Moscow later said that tests showed the chemical seized was anti-freeze, not sarin.[276] In September six of those arrested in May were charged with attempting to acquire chemicals which could be used to produce sarin; the indictment said that it was "possible to produce sarin gas by combining the materials in proper conditions."[277] The indictment said that "The suspects have pleaded not guilty saying that they had not been aware the materials they had tried to obtain could have been used to make sarin gas. Suspects have been consistently providing conflicting and incoherent facts on this matter." The suspects were said to be linked to al-Nusra and to Ahrar ash-Sham.[278][279] War crimes[edit] See also: Hatla massacre
Hatla massacre
and Zara'a massacre On 29 May 2012, a mass execution was discovered near the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor.[280] On 5 June 2012, the al-Nusra Front claimed responsibility for the killings.[281] During the 2013 Latakia offensive
2013 Latakia offensive
by rebel Islamist
Islamist
groups including al-Nusra Front in early August, according to Human Rights Watch, Salafist rebel forces led by al-Nusra systematically killed at least 190 civilians in several Alawite villages.[282] On 10 September 2013, al-Nusra fighters attacked the Alawite village of Maksar al-Hesan, in Homs
Homs
province.[283] Al-Nusra later admitted to the killing of 30 civilians overall in three Alawite villages, includes those in Maksar al-Hesan.[284] On 11 December 2013, the rebel Islamic Front and al-Nusra Front groups[285] infiltrated the industrial area of the town of Adra, northeast of Damascus, attacking buildings housing workers and their families. The rebels targeted Alawites, Druze, Christians and Shiites, killing them on a sectarian basis. Some people were shot while others were beheaded.[286] On 10 June 2015, the al-Nusra killed at least 20 Druze
Druze
villagers in Qalb Lawzeh in Idlib
Idlib
province.[287] On 12 May 2016, according to pro-government media, rebels led by al-Nusra Front and Ahrar ash-Sham
Ahrar ash-Sham
massacred 42 civilians and seven NDF militiamen while kidnapping up to 70 people after taking control of the Alawite village of Zara'a in Southern Hama.[288][289] During the last days of the 17th Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive in mid-December 2016, the al-Nusra Front arrested a media activist at a field hospital while he filmed the hospital operations. He was interrogated at al-Nusra's headquarters before the evacuation. During the evacuation of rebels from Aleppo, al-Nusra were the first to leave, along with prisoners whom they kidnapped.[290] Designation as a terrorist organisation[edit] Countries and organisations below have listed al-Nusra Front as a terrorist organisation:

Country Date References

 Iran 3 January 2012 [291]

 United States 10 December 2012 [100]

United Nations
United Nations
Security Council May 2013 [292][293]

 France 30 May 2013 [294]

 Australia 28 June 2013 [295]

 United Kingdom 19 July 2013 [296][297]

 Canada 7 November 2013 [298]

 Saudi Arabia 7 March 2014 [299]

 New Zealand 14 May 2014 [300]

 United Arab Emirates 19 May 2014 [301]

 Turkey 2 June 2014 [293][302]

 Russia 29 December 2014 [303][304][305]

 Azerbaijan

See also[edit]

List of armed groups in the Syrian Civil War List of terrorist incidents in Syria List of terrorist attacks in Damascus

References[edit]

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To Help Rebels Fighting Syria's Assad". Huffington Post. AP. Archived from the original on 8 May 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2015. Turkish officials say they distinguish between international jihadist groups and others with more localized aims. They place al-Sham in the latter category. Moreover, they hope to use al-Sham's rise to put pressure on Nusra to renounce its ties to al-Qaida and open itself to outside help.  ^ "Nusra Front split from al-Qaeda 'imminent', sources claim". Middle East Eye. 25 July 2016.  ^ a b Charles Lister Profiling Jabhat al-Nusra The Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World Analysis Paper No. 24, July 2016 ^ By Cameron Glenn The Nusra Front: Al Qaeda’s Affiliate in Syria, The Wilson Centre, Jun 17, 2016 ^ Lidia Kelly Russia
Russia
announces daily ceasefires in Syria's Aleppo
Aleppo
to let in aid, Reuters, 10 August 2016 ^ BBC Syria
Syria
war: Who are Jabhat Fateh al-Sham? 1 August 2016 ^ "US journalist who escaped Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham captivity, lands in Turkey
Turkey
jail for violating military zone". IB Times. 1 September 2016.  ^ OGN - Tahreer Sham: Who won in this merger?. OGN TV. Jan 29, 2017.  ^ " Hezbollah
Hezbollah
kills Jabhat Fateh al Sham militants on Lebanese border". Al-Bawaba. 1 September 2016.  ^ "Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook on Strike against al-Qaida Leader". US Department of Defense. 3 October 2016.  ^ US-backed rebels defect to al-Qaeda branch in Syria
Syria
Al Masdar News, 5 October 2016 ^ "جيش إدلب الحر (@free_idleb_army) - Twitter".  ^ "Monitors: Airstrike
Airstrike
in Syria
Syria
Kills Extremist Leaders Near Turkish Border". VOA News. 2 January 2017.  ^ Orton, Kyle (January 20, 2017). "The Coalition Strikes Down Al-Qaeda's Leaders In Syria". The Syrian Intifada.  ^ "Ex-Qaeda affiliate leaders among 25 dead in Syria
Syria
strike". AFP. 4 January 2017.  ^ Weiss, Caleb (12 Feb 2017). Twitter https://twitter.com/Weissenberg7/status/830980253279453184.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ Weiss, Caleb (February 14, 2017). "Uighur jihadist fought in Afghanistan, killed in Syria". Long War Journal. Foundation for Defense of Democracies.  ^ Weiss, Caleb (12 Feb 2017). Twitter https://twitter.com/Weissenberg7/status/830980443952525312.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ Joscelyn, Thomas (January 5, 2017). "Pentagon: Airstrikes kill 20 or more al Qaeda fighters in northern Syria". Long War Journal. Foundation for Defense of Democracies.  ^ Weiss, Caleb (12 Feb 2017). Twitter https://twitter.com/Weissenberg7/status/830982040518610944.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ Weiss, Caleb (12 Feb 2017). Twitter https://twitter.com/Weissenberg7/status/830981284772114432.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ "Two days after the killing of "jihadist" leaders… airstrikes by unknown warplanes again near Sarmada". Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 03/01/2017.  Check date values in: date= (help) ^ Twitter. 14 Feb 2017 https://twitter.com/LongWarJournal/status/831611068988407808.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ Weiss, Caleb (14 Feb 2017). Twitter https://twitter.com/Weissenberg7/status/831625359539986433.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ Pantucci, Raff (14 Feb 2017). Twitter https://twitter.com/raffpantucci/status/831644415013818369.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ Weiss, Caleb (12 Feb 2017). Twitter https://twitter.com/Weissenberg7/status/830979431510503424.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ Weiss, Caleb (15 Feb 2017). Twitter https://twitter.com/Weissenberg7/status/832093774184583169.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ "Up To 120 Al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda) Members And Their Allies Killed In US Airstrike
Airstrike
In Idlib". 20 January 2017.  ^ a b "US air strikes kill more than 100 'al-Qaeda militants' at training camp in Syria".  ^ "U.S. Airstrike
Airstrike
Kills More Than 100 al-Qaida Fighters in Syria". US Department of Defense. 20 January 2017.  ^ Twitter. 23 Jan 2017 https://twitter.com/Terror_Monitor/status/823440952660373504.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ Al-Tamimi, Aymenn Jawad (21 Jan 2017). Twitter https://twitter.com/ajaltamimi/status/822827808204476417.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ Twitter. 21 Jan 2017 https://twitter.com/Al_Maqal_PL/status/822831643647942660.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ "Al Maqalaat Pubs on Twitter".  ^ "Aymenn J Al-Tamimi on Twitter".  ^ "2 JFS Shura members (1 is in charge of economy + other is Aleppo military commander) announced they have left the group • /r/syriancivilwar".  ^ "Ahrar Al Sham, Jaish Al Mujahideen, Suqour Sham, Fastaqum, Jaish Islam establish joint operation room to fight Jund Aqsa/JFS • /r/syriancivilwar".  ^ "Suqor al-Sham leader @aleesa71 blames JFS for protecting "ISIS" (Jund al-Aqsa) & makes clear the near to "eradicate" the threat in Idlib
Idlib
• /r/syriancivilwar".  ^ "New statement from Ḥizb al-Islāmī al-Turkistānī in Bilād al-Shām: "Condolences on the Martyrdom of the Constellation of Heroes"". Jihadology. January 22, 2017.  ^ a b "Al Qaeda and allies announce 'new entity' in Syria
Syria
FDD's Long War Journal". FDD's Long War Journal. Retrieved 2017-01-29.  ^ "الاعلام الحربي مركزي on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2017-01-29.  ^ " Syria
Syria
rebels capture key Idlib
Idlib
army bases". Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
English. 15 December 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2015.  ^ " Syria
Syria
conflict: Rebels seize key Idlib
Idlib
airbase". BBC News. Retrieved 19 September 2015.  ^ David Blair and Richard Spencer (20 September 2014). "How Qatar
Qatar
is funding the rise of Islamist
Islamist
extremists". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 28 November 2015.  ^ How Qatar
Qatar
seized control of the Syrian revolution Financial Times, 17 May 2013 ^ "Gulf allies and 'Army of Conquest". Al-Ahram Weekly. 28 May 2015.  ^ "Gulf crisis seen widening split in Syria
Syria
rebellion". Reuters.  ^ Kim Sengupta (12 May 2015). " Turkey
Turkey
and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
alarm the West by backing Islamist
Islamist
extremists the Americans had bombed in Syria". The Independent.  ^ "American and International Militants Drawn to Syria". Anti-Defamation League.  ^ "North Carolina Arrest Marks 6th American in 2013 Associated With Al Qaeda in Syria". Access ADL. Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 13 November 2013.  ^ Ernesto Londoño and Greg Miller (11 September 2013). "CIA begins weapons delivery to Syrian rebels - The Washington Post". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 August 2014.  ^ "U.S. has secretly provided arms training to Syria
Syria
rebels since 2012". Los Angeles Times. 21 June 2013.  ^ Lisa Lundquist (27 April 2014). "The shadowy flow of US weapons into Syria". Longwarjournal.org. Retrieved 3 June 2015.  ^ Karouny, Mariam (September 22, 2015). "Resilient insurgent group Ahrar al-Sham
Ahrar al-Sham
to play bigger role in Syria". Reuters. BEIRUT.  ^ "US-trained Syria
Syria
fighters gave equipment to Nusra Front". aljazeera.com. Retrieved 28 November 2015.  ^ "Report: Israel treating al-Qaida fighters wounded in Syria
Syria
civil war". Jerusalem Post. 2015-03-15. Retrieved 2016-08-10.  ^ "Ex- Mossad
Mossad
head on Israel medical aid to al-Nusra Front". Al-Jazeera. 2016-05-31. Retrieved 2016-08-10.  ^ "IDF denies ties between Israel, Jabhat al-Nusra". Al Monitor. 24 Jun 2015. Retrieved 19 Feb 2018.  ^ . 2015-01-25 https://twitter.com/Elizrael/status/956568263386976258. Retrieved 2018-02-19.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ Krever, Mick (2014-09-25). "Qatar's Emir: We don't fund terrorists". CNN.com. Retrieved 2016-07-28.  ^ a b c CATF Reports. "Funding Al Nusra Through Ransom: Qatar
Qatar
and the Myth of "Humanitarian Principle" Consortium Against Terrorist Finance". Stopterrorfinance.org. Retrieved 2016-07-28.  ^ "The Smart and Right Thing in Syria
Syria
Institute for the Study of War". Understandingwar.org. Retrieved 2016-07-28.  ^ a b c "The Case Against Qatar". Foreign Policy. 2014-09-30. Retrieved 2016-07-28.  ^ a b c "How Qatar
Qatar
Is Funding al-Qaeda-and Why That Could Help the U.S." The Fiscal Times. 2015-12-29. Retrieved 2016-07-28.  ^ Blair, David (2014-09-20). "How Qatar
Qatar
is funding the rise of Islamist
Islamist
extremists". Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-07-28.  ^ "Qatar's Support of Islamists Alienates Allies Near and Far". The New York Times. 8 September 2014.  ^ Karouny, Mariam (26 September 2014). "Insight - U.S.-led strikes pressure al Qaeda's Syria
Syria
group to join with Islamic State". Reuters. Retrieved 19 October 2014.  ^ "US admits there is a much scarier terrorist group than ISIS". RT. 21 September 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2014.  ^ " Syria
Syria
Airstrikes Failed To Cripple Khorasan Threat". Associated Press. 9 October 2014. Archived from the original on 10 October 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2014.  ^ "Nusra leader: Our mission is to defeat Syrian regime". Al Jazeera. 28 May 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.  ^ Deborah E. Bloom. " Syria
Syria
rebel groups recruit child soldiers, says rights watchdog". CNN. Retrieved 27 June 2014.  ^ "Syria: Al-Nusra Jihadists 'Capture US TOW Anti-Tank Missiles' from Moderate Rebels". International Business Times. 3 November 2014. ^ Paraszczuk, Joanna (2 October 2014). "Wolf or Khorasan: Who Was Jabhat al-Nusra's Abu Yusuf al-Turki?". Chechens in Syria. Retrieved 10 October 2014.  ^ McDonnell, Patrick J. (13 September 2013). "Syrian rebel groups sought sarin gas material, Turkish prosecutors say". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 November 2013.  ^ "Report: Police foil al-Nusra bomb attack planned for Adana". Today's Zaman. 30 May 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.  ^ Kenneth R. Timmerman, The Daily Caller, 3 September 2013, Congress must ask the right questions on Syrian chemical weapons use ^ Burch, Jonathon (30 May 2013). " Turkey
Turkey
arrests 12 in raids on 'terrorist' organization". Reuters. Retrieved 8 August 2013.  ^ "No Chemical Arms Seized from Syrian Militants, Turkish Envoy Says". Global Security Newswire. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013.  ^ Aydınlık, 12 September 2013, Al-Nusra Linked to Chemical Production in Turkey
Turkey
Archived 20 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Hurriyet
Hurriyet
Daily News, 12 September 2013, Syrian rebel groups sought to buy materials for chemical weapons, prosecutors say ^ Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times, 13 September 2013, Syrian rebel groups sought sarin gas material, Turkish prosecutors say ^ Gladstone, Rick (May 30, 2012). "U.S. Envoy Sees Grim Outcome for Syria". New York Times.  ^ "Militant group claims killing of 13 in Syria". Reuters. Retrieved 27 October 2014.  ^ ""You Can Still See Their Blood" - Executions, Unlawful Killings, and Hostage Taking by Opposition Forces in Latakia Countryside". Human Rights Watch. 11 October 2013.  ^ " Syria
Syria
Massacre? Nusra Front Fighters Reportedly Kill Women, Children, Elderly Men In Alawite Village". The Huffington Post. 12 September 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2014.  ^ " Syria
Syria
jihadists claim they killed Homs
Homs
Alawites". Retrieved 27 October 2014.  ^ "Islamists kill 15 Alawite and Druze
Druze
civilians in Syria
Syria
-activists". Retrieved 27 October 2014.  ^ "Syrian troops launch offensive after dozens killed". Retrieved 27 October 2014.  ^ "Activists: Al Qaeda affiliate kills 20 members of minority sect in Syria". Fox News. Retrieved 29 June 2015.  ^ Leith Fadel (12 May 2016). " Syrian opposition
Syrian opposition
forces massacre, kidnap 120 civilians in southern Hama". Al Masdar News. Retrieved 12 May 2016.  ^ "Islamists agree to hand over corpses of civilians massacred in northern Homs". Al-Masdar News. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.  ^ "The Jabhat Fath Al-Sham were among the first to leave besieged Aleppo
Aleppo
and the fate of those they arrested remains unknown". Aleppo 24. 17 December 2016.  ^ "Jabhat al-Nusra Australian National Security". Nationalsecurity.gov.au. Retrieved 18 August 2014.  ^ "UN blacklists Syria's al-Nusra Front". Al Jazeera. 31 May 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2015.  ^ a b " Turkey
Turkey
lists al-Nusra Front as terrorist organization". Hürriyet Daily News. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2015.  ^ ‘Liste unique de gels’. République Française, Trésor Direction Générale, Sanctions financières internationales. Published 28 August 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015. (Click on ‘liste consolidée de gel d'avoirs’; then click on ‘liste unique’:) "Nr. 314: Al-Nusrah Front. [translated:] Designated by the regulation (European Union) nr. 583/2014 of 28 May 2014. Previously, Al-Nusrah was inscribed on the list, between 30 May 2013 and 13 May 2014, in its quality of alias of Al-Qaida in Iraq. Category: terrorism. Rule: Resolution 1989." ^ "Australian Government lists anti-Assad Syrian group as terrorist organisation - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 29 June 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.  ^ List of Proscribed organisations UK government, 27 March 2015. Retrieved 2 September 2015. Page 6: "The Government laid an Order, in July 2013, which provided that the al-Nusrah Front (ANF) and Jabhat al-Nusrah li-ahl al Sham should be treated as alternative names for the organization which is already proscribed under the name Al Qa'ida." ^ "Britain bans Syria's al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front on terrorism grounds". Fox News Channel. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.  ^ "'Public Safety Canada. Currently listed entities.'". Publicsafety.gc.ca. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2015.  ^ " Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
lists terrorist groups - Xinhua English.news.cn". Xinhua News Agency. 8 March 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014.  ^ (List of) "Designated individuals and organisations" in New Zealand as "terrorist entities". police.govt.nz, (presumably) 26 Nov. 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2015. See page 135: "associated with Al-Qaeda"; page 151: Al-Nusrah Front, "Listed on 14/5/2014". ^ "UAE to try nine for recruiting militants to fight in Syria: agency". Reuters. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014.  ^ Dorian Jones (4 June 2014). " Turkey
Turkey
Designates Al-Nusra Front
Al-Nusra Front
as a Terrorist Organization". Voice of America. Retrieved 18 August 2014.  ^ " Russia
Russia
calls on all states to put Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra on terrorist lists". Russian News Agency "TASS". Retrieved 29 December 2014.  ^ " Russia
Russia
seeks UN ban on oil trade with terrorists in Syria". En.alalam.ir. 2 July 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014.  ^ "UN threatens sanctions on anyone trading oil with ISIS terrorists – RT News". Russia: RT. 29 July 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 

External links[edit]

First ever broadcast interview with Abu Mohammed al-Joulani Combating al-Qaeda in Syria: A Strategy for the Next Administration http://www.longwarjournal.org/tags/al-nusrah-front http://www.longwarjournal.org/tags/sanafi-al-nasr

v t e

Syrian Civil War

Part of the Arab Spring
Arab Spring
and Arab Winter

Background Timeline

Background

1963 coup d'état 1966 coup d'état 1970 "Corrective Revolution" 1979–82 Islamic uprising 1999 Latakia protests 2000–01 Damascus
Damascus
Spring 2004 Qamishli riots Syrian occupation of Lebanon 2005 Damascus
Damascus
Declaration Human rights in Syria

2011 (Jan–Apr • May–Aug • Sep–Dec)

Death of Hamza Ali Al-Khateeb Siege of Daraa Siege of Baniyas Talkalakh siege Siege of Rastan and Talbiseh Jisr ash-Shugur operation Siege of Hama Siege of Homs Jabal al-Zawiya operation Siege of Latakia Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
Clashes Rif Dimashq
Rif Dimashq
clashes

Battle of Zabadani Battle of Douma

Daraa
Daraa
Governorate clashes First Battle of Rastan Shayrat and Tiyas airbase ambush Idlib Governorate
Idlib Governorate
clashes Jabal al-Zawiya massacres

2012 (Jan–Apr • May–Aug • Sep–Dec)

al-Midan bombing Second Battle of Rastan First Idlib
Idlib
operation First Battle of Idlib First Battle of al-Qusayr Second Idlib
Idlib
operation

Battle of Taftanaz

Third Battle of Rastan Houla massacre Battle of al-Haffah Al-Qubeir massacre Battle of Tremseh Battle of Damascus

Damascus
Damascus
bombing

Battle of Aleppo

Battle of Anadan Siege of Base 46

Al-Hasakah Governorate campaign (2012–13) First Rif Dimashq
Rif Dimashq
offensive

Darayya massacre

Battle of Khirbet al-Joz Battle of Maarrat al-Nu'man (2012) First Siege of Wadi Deif Battle of Harem Second Rif Dimashq
Rif Dimashq
offensive

Battle of Darayya

Aqrab massacre First Hama
Hama
offensive

Halfaya massacre

Battle of Darayya Quneitra Governorate
Quneitra Governorate
clashes Talbiseh bakery massacre

2013 (Jan–Apr • May–Dec)

Battle of Safira Battle of Shadadeh Damascus
Damascus
offensive Raqqa campaign (2012–13)
Raqqa campaign (2012–13)
(Battle of Raqqa (March 2013)) Daraa
Daraa
offensive Third Rif Dimashq
Rif Dimashq
offensive

Battle of Jdaidet al-Fadl

Ghouta chemical attack Al-Qusayr offensive

Second Battle of al-Qusayr

Bayda and Baniyas massacres Second Hama
Hama
offensive Hatla massacre Khan al-Assal chemical attack Khan al-Assal massacre Adra massacre Battle of Ras al-Ayn Battle of Tell Abyad Fourth Rif Dimashq
Rif Dimashq
offensive Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive

2014 (Jan–Jul • Aug–Dec)

First Inter-Rebel Conflict

Battle of Markada First Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
Offensive

Battle of Mork 2nd Daraa
Daraa
Offensive Maan massacre Al-Otaiba ambush 4th Idlib
Idlib
Offensive Battle of Hosn 2nd Latakia Offensive Battle of Al-Malihah Kafr Zita chemical attack Second Siege of Wadi Deif 2nd Qalamoun Offensive

Battle of Arsal

First Battle of the Shaer gas field Eastern Syria
Syria
Offensive

Battle for Tabqa Air base

Northern Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (February–July 2014) 3rd Hama
Hama
Offensive Quneitra Offensive 6th Rif Dimashq
Rif Dimashq
offensive Siege of Kobanî 3rd Daraa
Daraa
offensive 2nd Al-Safira offensive Idlib
Idlib
Raid Second Inter-Rebel Conflict Second Battle of the Shaer gas field Battle of Al-Shaykh Maskin 2nd Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
offensive

2015 (Jan–Jul • Aug–Dec)

An-26 crash 4th Daraa
Daraa
Offensive Southern Syria
Syria
Offensive Eastern al-Hasakah offensive 1st Battle of Sarrin 2nd Battle of Sarrin Battle of Bosra 5th Idlib
Idlib
Offensive Second Battle of Idlib Battle of Nasib Border Crossing 2nd Battle of Yarmouk Camp Western al-Hasakah offensive Palmyra offensive (May 2015) 2015 Qamishli bombings Tell Abyad offensive Kobanî massacre Quneitra offensive Palmyra offensive (July–August 2015) 7th Rif Dimashq
Rif Dimashq
offensive Northwestern Syria
Syria
offensive 2015 Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive 2015 Al-Hawl offensive Homs
Homs
offensive (November–December 2015) East Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (2015–16) Latakia offensive (2015–2016) Tishrin Dam offensive 2015 Russian Sukhoi Su-24 shootdown

2016 (Jan–Apr • May–Aug • Sep–Dec)

Second Battle of Al-Shaykh Maskin 3rd Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
offensive Sayyidah Zaynab bombings Northern Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (February 2016) Ithriyah-Raqqa offensive (February–March 2016) Al-Shaddadi offensive (2016) February Homs
Homs
bombings February Sayyidah Zaynab bombings 2016 Khanasir offensive Battle of Tel Abyad Battle of Maarrat al-Nu'man (2016) Battle of Qamishli (April 2016) Northern Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (March–June 2016) Palmyra offensive (March 2016) East Ghouta inter-rebel conflict (April–May 2016) 8th Rif Dimashq
Rif Dimashq
offensive Northern Raqqa offensive (May 2016) May 2016 Jableh and Tartous bombings Ithriyah-Raqqa offensive (June 2016) 9th Rif Dimashq
Rif Dimashq
offensive Manbij offensive

Tokhar

2016 Southern Aleppo
Aleppo
campaign Battle of al-Rai (August 2016) 2016 Aleppo
Aleppo
summer campaign Western al-Bab offensive (September 2016) 5 September 2016 Syria
Syria
bombings September 2016 Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
air raid September 2016 Urum al-Kubra Aid Convoy attack September Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive 2016 Dabiq offensive Western al-Bab offensive (October–November 2016) Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (September–October 2016) Khan al-Shih offensive (October–November 2016) Raqqa campaign (2016–present) Battle of al-Bab Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (November–December 2016) Palmyra offensive (December 2016)

2017 (Jan–Apr • May–Aug • Sep–Dec)

Wadi Barada offensive (2016–17) January 2017 Azaz bombing Syrian Desert campaign (December 2016–April 2017) Idlib Governorate
Idlib Governorate
clashes (2017) Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
offensive (January–February 2017) Daraa
Daraa
offensive (February–June 2017) Southwestern Daraa
Daraa
offensive (February 2017) Qaboun offensive (2017) Palmyra offensive (2017) East Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (January–April 2017) March 2017 Damascus
Damascus
bombings 2017 al-Jinah airstrike Hama
Hama
offensive (March–April 2017) Battle of Tabqa (2017) Khan Shaykhun chemical attack 2017 Shayrat missile strike 2017 Aleppo
Aleppo
suicide car bombing April 2017 Turkish airstrikes in Syria
Syria
and Iraq East Ghouta inter-rebel conflict (April–May 2017) Syrian Desert campaign (May–July 2017) Maskanah Plains offensive East Hama
Hama
offensive Battle of Raqqa (2017) 9th Daraa Southern Raqqa offensive (June 2017) 2017 Jobar offensive Quneitra offensive (June 2017) Idlib Governorate
Idlib Governorate
clashes (July 2017) Central Syria
Syria
campaign (2017) 4nd Qalamoun Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
offensive (September 2017–March 2018) Hama
Hama
offensive (September 2017) Northwestern Syria
Syria
campaign (October 2017–February 2018) Turkish military operation in Idlib
Idlib
Governorate Battle of Harasta (2017–18) Eastern Syria
Syria
campaign (September–December 2017)

2017 Euphrates Crossing offensive 2017 Mayadin offensive Battle of Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
(September–November 2017) 2017 Abu Kamal offensive

Beit Jinn offensive

2018 (Jan–Apr • May–Aug • Sep–Dec)

Turkish military operation in Afrin Battle of Khasham Tenth Rif Dimashq
Rif Dimashq
offensive Southern Damascus
Damascus
offensive (January–February 2018) Syrian Liberation Front– Tahrir al-Sham
Tahrir al-Sham
conflict Southern Damascus
Damascus
offensive (March 2018) Eastern Syria
Syria
campaign (March 2018–present)

Spillover

Spillover into Lebanon

Lebanese–Syrian border clashes Battle of Sidon Iranian Embassy Bombing Northern Lebanon
Lebanon
Clashes 3nd Qalamoun

Syrian-Turkish border clashes

December 2011 Syrian–Turkish border clash Turkish aircraft shootdown October 2012 Syrian-Turkish border clashes Reyhanlı bombings January 2014 Turkish airstrike in Syria

Israeli–Syrian ceasefire line incidents

March 2017 incident February 2018 incident

Jordanian-Syrian border clashes

April 2014 Jordanian–Syrian border airstrike

Spillover into Iraq

Akashat ambush Operation al-Shabah April 2014 Iraqi–Syrian border airstrike

Assassination of Andrei Karlov Turkish military intervention in Syria
Syria
(August 2016–March 2017) 2017 Russian Air Force Al-Bab incident 2017 Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
missile strike

Involved parties

Syria

Ba'ath Government

Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Syria
Syria
Region Syrian Social Nationalist Party Arab Socialist Movement Syrian Communist Party

Military & Militias

Syrian Armed Forces Syrian Resistance PFLP-GC al-Quds Brigade Palestine Liberation Army Smaller groups

Support for the government

Hezbollah
Hezbollah
involvement Iranian involvement

Liwa Fatemiyoun

Russia's involvement

medical facility targeting military intervention Wagner Group

Russia–Syria–Iran– Iraq
Iraq
coalition Popular Mobilization Forces
Popular Mobilization Forces
(Iraq)

Syrian opposition, Al-Qaeda affiliates and allies

NCSR Government

National Coalition

Local Co-ordination Committees

Syrian National Council Supreme Council of the Syrian Revolution National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change Syrian Revolution General Commission Syrian Support Group Adopt a Revolution Syrian Patriotic Group

Opposition militias

SNA Syrian Liberation Front Army of Free Men Abu Amara Battalions Covert Special
Special
Tasks Force Army of Glory Elite Army 2nd Army Army of Victory Martyrs of Islam Brigade National Liberation Movement Central Division 1st Coastal Division Free Idlib
Idlib
Army 23rd Division Army of Islam al-Rahman Legion 1st Brigade
Brigade
of Damascus Southern Front Army of Free Tribes Criterion Brigades National Front for the Liberation of Syria Unified Syrian Army Company of the People of the Levant Authenticity and Development Front Al-Qaratayn Martyrs Brigade Revolutionary Commando Army Elite Division Smaller groups

al-Qaeda affiliates and allies

Tahrir al-Sham Turkistan Islamic Party
Turkistan Islamic Party
in Syria Caucasus Emirate Ajnad al-Kavkaz Junud al-Makhdi Malhama Tactical Ansar al-Islam
Ansar al-Islam
splinter faction Smaller groups

Allied groups (to the Opposition militias)

Muslim Brotherhood of Syria Grey Wolves Smaller groups

Support for the Opposition

American-led intervention

American rescue mission

Jordanian intervention Qatar Saudi Arabia Turkey

Rojava
Rojava
(SDF)

Rojava
Rojava
government

Democratic Union Party Kurdish National Council Smaller political parties

SDF groups

People's Protection Units Women's Protection Units Anti-Terror Units Al-Sanadid Forces Army of Revolutionaries Elite Forces SDF Military Councils Syriac Military Council
Syriac Military Council
(Bethnahrain Women's Protection Forces Jabhat Thuwar al-Raqqa Raqqa Hawks Brigade Northern Democratic Brigade Free Officers Union Liberation Brigade
Brigade
faction Shahba Forces Liwa Owais al-Qorani
Liwa Owais al-Qorani
remnants Martyr Amara Arab Women's Battalion Battalion of Karachok Martyrs Revolutionary Forces Khabour Guards Nattoreh Smaller groups

Allied groups

Patriotic Union of Kurdistan Kurdistan Workers' Party International Freedom Battalion International Anti-Fascist Battalion Sinjar Resistance Units Êzîdxan Women's Units Smaller groups

ISIL

Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant

Military of ISIL Dokumacılar Khalid ibn al-Walid Army Liwa al-Aqsa Group of the One and Only Liwa Dawud

People

Ammar Abdulhamid Ali al-Abdallah Adnan al-Aroor al-Assad family

Bashar Maher Rifaat Rami Makhlouf Hafez Makhlouf

Riad al-Asaad Anwar al-Bunni Fahd Jassem al-Freij Haitham al-Maleh Moaz al-Khatib Kamal al-Labwani Hamza al-Khateeb Tal al-Mallohi Fida al-Sayed Riad al-Turk Khaled Khoja Ammar al-Qurabi Suheir Atassi Ali Sadreddine Al-Bayanouni Aref Dalila Farid Ghadry Burhan Ghalioun Razan Ghazzawi Ghassan Hitto Salim Idris Randa Kassis Abdul Halim Khaddam Michel Kilo Bassma Kodmani Ali Habib Mahmud Ali Mahmoud Othman Ibrahim Qashoush Dawoud Rajiha Yassin al-Haj Saleh Bouthaina Shaaban Adib Shishakly Abdulbaset Sieda Riad Seif Fadwa Soliman Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid Yaser Tabbara Razan Zaitouneh Rami Jarrah Abdurrahman Mustafa

Issues Peace process Related topics Elections

Issues

Casualties Chemical weapons Cities and towns Damaged heritage sites Foreign involvement Human rights violations Humanitarian aid International reactions International demonstrations and protests Massacres Refugees (European migrant crisis) Sectarianism and minorities Spillover into Lebanon Syrian reactions

Peace process

Arab League monitors Friends of Syria
Syria
Group Kofi Annan peace plan

UN Supervision Mission

Lakhdar Brahimi peace plan U.S.– Russia
Russia
peace proposals on Syria 39th G8 summit UN Security Council Resolution 2118 Geneva II Conference 2015 Zabadani cease-fire agreement 2015 Vienna talks 2016 Geneva talks

Related topics

2014 Syrian detainee report Exclusive mandate Fourth Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Summit Conference International recognition of the Syrian National Council Syria
Syria
Files Syrian media coverage The Return to Homs Silvered Water, Syria
Syria
Self-Portrait Sunnistan Syrian presidential election, 2014

Elections and referendums held during the civil war

Syrian local elections, 2011 Syrian constitutional referendum, 2012 Syrian presidential election, 2014 Rojava
Rojava
local elections, 2015 Syrian parliamentary election, 2016 Northern Syria
Syria
local elections, 2017

Category

v t e

War on Terror

War in Afghanistan Iraq
Iraq
War War in North-West Pakistan Symbolism of terrorism

Participants

Operational

ISAF Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom
participants Afghanistan Northern Alliance Iraq
Iraq
(Iraqi Armed Forces) NATO Pakistan United Kingdom United States European Union Philippines Ethiopia

Targets

al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula Abu Sayyaf Anwar al-Awlaki Al-Shabaab Boko Haram Harkat-ul- Jihad
Jihad
al-Islami Hizbul Mujahideen Islamic Courts Union Islamic State of Iraq
Islamic State of Iraq
and the Levant Jaish-e-Mohammed Jemaah Islamiyah Lashkar-e-Taiba Taliban Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan

Conflicts

Operation Enduring Freedom

War in Afghanistan OEF – Philippines Georgia Train and Equip Program Georgia Sustainment and Stability OEF – Horn of Africa OEF – Trans Sahara Drone strikes in Pakistan

Other

Operation Active Endeavour Insurgency in the Maghreb (2002–present) Insurgency in the North Caucasus Moro conflict
Moro conflict
in the Philippines Iraq
Iraq
War Iraqi insurgency Operation Linda Nchi Terrorism in Saudi Arabia War in North-West Pakistan War in Somalia (2006–09) 2007 Lebanon
Lebanon
conflict al-Qaeda insurgency in Yemen Korean conflict

See also

Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse Axis of evil Black sites Bush Doctrine Clash of Civilizations Cold War Combatant Status Review Tribunal Criticism of the War on Terror Death of Osama bin Laden Enhanced interrogation techniques Torture
Torture
Memos Extrajudicial prisoners Extraordinary rendition Guantanamo Bay detention camp Iranian Revolution Islamic terrorism Islamism Military Commissions Act of 2006 North Korea and weapons of mass destruction Terrorist Surveillance Program Operation Noble Eagle Operation Eagle Assist Pakistan's role Patriot Act President's Surveillance Program Protect America Act of 2007 September 11 attacks State Sponsors of Terrorism Targeted killing Targeted Killing in International Law Targeted Killings: Law and Morality in an Asymmetrical World Unitary executive theory Unlawful combatant Withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan CAGE

Terrorism

.