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Al Qaeda affiliates gain loyalty and power east Syria: FSA commanders


 Local

2013-12-23

 
 

Free Syrian Army leaders in Eastern province Deir Zour warned of the mounting influence of Al Qaeda affiliated groups in rebels due to the deteriorating power of moderate fighting groups, Zaman Alwasl reporter said.

 If the situation continues the FSA will be about to dismiss in the northeastern areas of Syria, sources reported.

The State of Iraq and The Levant (ISIL) with its fellow Al Qaeda powerful group Al Nusra Front are getting more influence as most tribes pledged allegiance to it.

Infighting among Syrian rebels has weakened their efforts to bring down Bashar al-Assad in the conflict which began as peaceful protests against his rule in March 2011 and has descended into civil war.

ISIL seems supremely confident of its destiny and has even defied the overall leader of al Qaeda, Ayman al Zawahiri, who earlier this year instructed it to confine its operations to Iraq. Rather than cede the lead role in Syria to al Nusra, as Zawahiri ordered, ISIL last week called for "all jihadist leaders and soldiers and people to accelerate in joining the project of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant," according to CNN.

The leader of al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, one of the most powerful groups in the war-torn country, has told Al Jazeera 4 days ago that that the conflict is nearing an end and that his fighters hold the upper hand.

 “The battle is almost over, we have covered about 70 percent of it, and what's left is small. We will achieve victory soon. We pray to God to culminate these efforts with victory. It's only a matter of days,” he said in an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera’s Tayseer Allouni from an undisclosed location in Syria.

Al-Nusra, which wants to establish a Syrian state that is ruled under Islamic law (Sharia), keeps secret the number of its fighters in Syria, but estimates suggest that it could be anywhere between 5,000 up to 20,000 fighters and have strongholds in different parts of Syria.

Al-Joulani said his group is not seeking to rule a post-war Syria alone. Instead he said al-Nusra wants consultations with Muslim scholars and thinkers who supported the Syrian uprising, to draft a plan for running the country according to Sharia.

For the United States and other western governments, Al Qaeda expansion to north and eastern Syria, is alarming, according to Washington Institute (Think Tank). Seven years ago, the United States committed tens of thousands of troops and billions of dollars to rolling back al Qaeda in Iraq. The famous 'surge' succeeded in buying time and space for more moderate forces, but the militants -- battered and bloodied -- clung on. Now they have space in Syria, where U.S. Special Forces and military technology are absent.

 

 



Zaman Alwasl
 

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