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Al-Nusra Front

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Title: Al-Nusra Front  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Al-Qaeda, American-led intervention in Syria, List of wars and battles involving ISIL, Battle of Ras al-Ayn, Syria Revolutionaries Front
Collection: 2011 Establishments in Syria, Anti-Government Factions of the Syrian Civil War, Anti-Shi'Ism, Designated Terrorist Organizations Associated with Islam, Government of Canada Designated Terrorist Organizations, Government of New Zealand Designated Terrorist Organizations, Government of Saudi Arabia Designated Terrorist Organizations, Groups Affiliated with Al-Qaeda, Islamic Terrorism in Syria, Jihadist Groups, Jihadist Organizations, Organizations Affiliated with Al-Qaeda, Organizations Designated as Terrorist by the Turkish Directorate General for Security, Organizations Designated as Terrorist by the United States Government, Organizations Designated as Terrorist in Asia, Salafi Groups, Terrorism in Syria, United Kingdom Home Office Designated Terrorist Groups
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Al-Nusra Front

al-Nusra Front
(Arabic: جبهة النصرة لأهل الشام‎)
Participant in the Syrian Civil War
Flag of the al-Nusra Front
Active 23 January 2012 – present[1]
Ideology Sunni Islamism[2]
Islamic fundamentalism[3]
Islamic nationalism[4]
Leaders Abu Mohammad al-Julani[5]

Deir Ezzor, Syria (2012–2014)[6]

Harem, Idlib Governorate, Syria (2014–present)[7]
Area of operations
Strength 5,115–6,115 (including 50 Khorasan members)[8][9][10]
Part of

Free Syrian Army[13]
Khorasan Group[14]
Suqour al-Ezz
Harakat Sham al-Islam[15]
Ajnad al-Sham Islamic Union[16]
Ghuraba al-Sham [17]

Islamic Front



United States of America

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [19]

Free Syrian Army

Battles and wars

Syrian Civil War

2014 military intervention against ISIL

The al-Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra, (JN, Arabic: جبهة النصرة لأهل الشامJabhat an-Nuṣrah li-Ahli ash-Shām, "The Support Front for the People of Al-Sham"), sometimes called Tanzim Qa'edat Al-Jihad fi Bilad Al-Sham or al-Qaeda in Syria,[24] is a branch of al-Qaeda operating in Syria[25] and Lebanon.[26]

The group announced its formation on 23 January 2012, during the

  • First ever broadcast interview with Abu Mohammed al-Joulani
  • Translation of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri’s letter to the leaders of the two Jihadi groups

External links

  1. ^ a b c "Interview with Official of Jabhat al-Nusra, Syria's Islamist Militia Group".  
  2. ^ "Hezbollah and Al Qaeda Fighters Edging Closer to Full Scale Confrontation". 10 May 2014. Retrieved November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Al-Nusra Front". 2012. Retrieved November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Syria: A gathering force". 12 February 2014. Retrieved November 2014. Despite ties to global jihad and its relations with Mr Zawahiri, al-Nusra has pursued a vehemently nationalist Syrian agenda 
  5. ^ "TIME Exclusive: Meet the Islamist Militants Fighting Alongside Syria’s Rebels". Time. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Abdallah Suleiman Ali (12 February 2014). "ISIS losing ground in Syria to Jabhat al-Nusra".  
  7. ^ Nick Paton Walsh and Laura Smith-Spark (November 6, 2014). "Report: Airstrikes target another Islamist group in Syria".  
  8. ^ "Why Is Jabhat al-Nusra No Longer Useful to Turkey?". USNews. 11 June 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Airstrikes in Syria That Targeted Khorasan Group Disrupted Plots Against US, Gen. Dempsey Says". ABC News. 7 October 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "AP sources: IS, al-Qaida reach accord in Syria". 2014-11-13. Retrieved 2014-11-13. 
  11. ^ "Aleppo: Syria's Stalingrad?". National Interest. 22 April 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "New Syrian jihadist body formed to fight ISIS". Al Monitor. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "Syrian insurgents attack government-held town near Israel". Reuters. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "The strange story behind the ‘Khorasan’ group’s name". Washington Post. 25 September 2014. Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "Former Guantanamo detainee killed while leading jihadist group in Syria". Long War Journal. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "Syria rebels advance in Hama". ARA News. 12 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  17. ^ AFP (18 January 2013). "Raging clashes pit Syrian Kurds against jihadists". NOW. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  18. ^ Mortada, Radwan (19 May 2014). "Hezbollah fighters and the "jihadis:" Mad, drugged, homicidal, and hungry". al-Akhbar English. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  19. ^ a b McLaughlin, Eliott; Capelouto, Susanna (28 September 2014). "U.S. and its allies strike ISIS tank, refineries and checkpoints".  
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  21. ^ Ahmed Marshal. "اشتباكات بين حركة وحزم وجبهة النصرة في ريف حلب الغربي وريف إدلب". المرصد السورى لحقوق الإنسان. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
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  25. ^ "Zawahiri disbands main Qaeda faction in Syria". GlobalPost. 2013-11-08. Retrieved 2013-11-15. 
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  32. ^ "Turkey lists al-Nusra Front as terrorist organization". Hurriyet Daily News. June 3, 2014. Retrieved June 3, 2014. 
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  44. ^ a b "Qaeda in Iraq confirms Syria's Nusra is part of network".  
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  53. ^ a b "Syria Conflict: Rebels, Army Battle Over Taftanaz Airbase". Huffington Post. 3 November 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
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  56. ^ "'"Jihadists, weapons 'moving from Iraq to Syria. AFP. 2012-02-11. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  57. ^ Elizabeth O'Bagy (September 2012). "Jihad in Syria" (PDF). Institute for the Study of War. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  58. ^ Sherlock, Ruth (20 January 2014). "Exclusive interview: why I defected from Bashar al-Assad's regime, by former diplomat Nawaf Fares". Telegraph (London). Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  59. ^ "Syrian rebels defy US and pledge allegiance to jihadi group". The Telegraph (London). 10 December 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
  60. ^ "Islamist groups gaining prominence in Syria fight". USA Today. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
  61. ^ "Free Syrian Army rebels defect to Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra". The Guardian (London). 8 May 2013. 
  62. ^ "Which Insurgents Captured Menagh Airbase". eaworldview. 7 August 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  63. ^ "For newly recognized Syrian rebel coalition, a first dispute with US". Christian Science Monitor. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  64. ^ "Syrian rebels defy US and pledge allegiance to jihadi group". The Telegraph (London). 10 December 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2012. 
  65. ^ "Syrian protesters slam U.S. blacklisting of jihadist group". Daily Star. AFP. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2012. 
  66. ^ a b "ISI Confirms That Jabhat Al-Nusra Is Its Extension In Syria, Declares 'Islamic State Of Iraq And Al-Sham' As New Name Of Merged Group". MEMRI. 2013-04-08. Retrieved 2013-04-10. 
  67. ^ "'"Al-Nusra Commits to al-Qaeda, Deny Iraq Branch 'Merger.  
  68. ^ a b "Iraqi al-Qaeda chief rejects Zawahiri orders". Al Jazeera. 2013-06-15. Retrieved 2013-06-15. 
  69. ^ "Insight: Syria's Nusra Front eclipsed by Iraq-based al Qaeda". Reuters. 2013-05-17. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  70. ^ Spencer, Richard (2013-05-19). "Syria: Jabhat al-Nusra split after leader's pledge of support for al-Qaeda". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  71. ^ "Qaeda chief annuls Syrian-Iraqi jihad merger". Al Jazeera. 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  72. ^ "Factbox: Syria's rebel groups". Reuters. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  73. ^ Liz Sly (3 February 2014). "Al-Qaeda disavows any ties with radical Islamist ISIS group in Syria, Iraq". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  74. ^ "Syria: al-Nusra Front declares war on ISIS". Al Akhbar English. 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  75. ^ "Al-Nusra chief killed by rivals in Syria". 2014-04-16. Retrieved 2014-04-16. 
  76. ^ "Hundreds killed as ISIL insurgents gain ground in east Syria". Reuters. 10 June 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  77. ^ "Al Qaeda leaves east Syria strongholds to Islamic State -monitor". Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  78. ^ "Al Qaeda’s rise in southern Syrian pushes moderate rebels to sideline". Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  79. ^ "Will the 'Emirate of the Levant' be announced on Eid al-Fitr?". Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  80. ^ "Jabhat al-Nusra, IS compete for foreign fighters". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  81. ^ "Rebels Call on Al Nusra Front to Rethink Establishing its "Emirat". Syrian National Coalition Of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  82. ^ "Suicide bombers kill 14 in Damascus". Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  83. ^ Jamie Dettmer (2013-01-04). "Jihadists Are Creeping Into Syria's Rebel Factions". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  84. ^ a b Bill Roggio (2012-02-26). "Al Nusrah Front claims suicide attack in Syria". The Long War Journal. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  85. ^ "Jihadist group claim responsibility for Damascus blasts".  
  86. ^ "Jihadist group denies claiming Damascus bombings". Dawn. AFP. 2012-05-15. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  87. ^ Gladstone, Rick (30 May 2012). "U.S. Envoy Sees Grim Outcome for Syria". New York Times. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  88. ^ "Militant group claims killing of 13 in Syria". Reuters. 5 June 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  89. ^ "Terrorist Al-Ayesh, Who Supervised Rigging Car Bombs Detonated in Damascus, Killed". Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  90. ^
  91. ^ "Seven killed in attack on Syrian TV station". 2012-06-27. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  92. ^ "Jihadists claim Syria attacks". Associated Press. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
  93. ^ "Syrian TV presenter Mohammad al Saeed has been executed by Islamist armed group Al-Nusra, says rights group". 2012-08-04. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  94. ^ "Militant group Al-Nusra claim suicide bombings in Aleppo".  
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  97. ^ "ABC News:Dozens killed in Aleppo bomb blasts". 3 October 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  98. ^ Albert Aji and Zeina Karam (3 October 2012). "Syrian official: 27 killed in Aleppo bombings". Associated Press. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  99. ^ "Militant group says was behind Aleppo air defense base assault". 20 October 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  100. ^ "Syria, most rebels agree to four-day truce". 25 October 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  101. ^ "Syrian rebels kill 28 soldiers as fighting continues". The Jordan Times. 2012-11-01. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  102. ^ Matthew Weaver (2012-11-02). "Syria conflict: rebel 'war crime' caught on video". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  103. ^ "At least 50 pro-Assad forces killed in Syria suicide bombing, activists say".  
  104. ^ Karouny, Mariam (5 November 2012). "Suicide bomber kills 50 Syrian security men: opposition". Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  105. ^ "'"Syria 'secures chemical weapons stockpile. Al Jazeera. 23 December 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  106. ^ "Syrian rebels push offensive for major airport". Ynet. 18 February 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  107. ^ "Priest Beheaded On Video By Syrian Jihadists Bears 'No Relation’ To Death Of Father François Murad [CORRECTION]". International Business Times. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  108. ^ Bill Roggio (2012-08-04). "Al Nusrah Front conducts joint operation with Free Syrian Army - Threat Matrix". Retrieved 2013-06-11. 
  109. ^ "Syria revolt attracts motley foreign jihadi corps". Agence France Presse. 18 August 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  110. ^ Barnard, Anne; Saad, Hwaida (9 March 2014). "Nuns Released by Syrians After Three-Month Ordeal". The New York Times. 
  111. ^ "Syria's al-Nusra Front – ruthless, organised and taking control". Guardian. 10 July 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  112. ^ "UN official defends Indian general in Syrian peacekeeping controversy".  
  113. ^ Kais, Roi. "Qaeda-rebels: UN Peacekeepers to be judged according to God." Ynetnews. 5 September 2014. 5 September 2014.
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  115. ^ "UN soldiers escape siege by Syria rebels".  
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  118. ^ "Duterte: Shoot Undof chief in the head".  
  119. ^ "Syria conflict: Rebels release Fijian UN peacekeepers".  
  120. ^ How Qatar seized control of the Syrian revolution Financial Times, 17 May 2013
  121. ^ By Lisa LundquistApril 27, 2014 12:41 PM (2014-04-27). "The shadowy flow of US weapons into Syria - Threat Matrix". Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  122. ^ By Ernesto Londoño and Greg Miller (2013-09-11). "CIA begins weapons delivery to Syrian rebels - The Washington Post". Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  123. ^ "American and International Militants Drawn to Syria". Anti-Defamation League. 
  124. ^ "North Carolina Arrest Marks 6th American In 2013 Associated With Al Qaeda In Syria". Access ADL. Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  125. ^ Deborah E. Bloom. "Syria rebel groups recruit child soldiers, says rights watchdog". CNN. Retrieved June 27, 2014. 
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  127. ^ McDonnell, Patrick J. (2013-09-13). "Syrian rebel groups sought sarin gas material, Turkish prosecutors say". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  128. ^ "Report: Police foil al-Nusra bomb attack planned for Adana". 2013-05-30. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  129. ^ Kenneth R. Timmerman, The Daily Caller, 3 September 2013, Congress must ask the right questions on Syrian chemical weapons use
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  136. ^ "About the listing process". Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
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  143. ^ List of Proscribed organisations UK government.
  144. ^


See also

Country Date References
 Australia 28 June 2013 [135]
 Canada 7 November 2013 [136]
 France [137]
 Russia [138][139]
 Saudi Arabia 7 March 2014 [140]
 Turkey 4 June 2014 [141]
 United Arab Emirates [142]
 United Kingdom 19 July 2013 [143]
 United States 10 December 2012 [144]

Countries and organizations below have officially listed the al-Nusra Front as a terrorist organization.

Designation as a terrorist organization

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.[127][128][129] The governor of Adana claimed that the security forces had not found sarin gas but unknown chemicals, without offering further elaboration.[130] The Turkish Ambassador to Moscow later said that tests showed the chemical seized was anti-freeze, not sarin.[131] 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."[132] 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.[133][134]

A report surfaced in June 2013 of former Iraqi Ba'ath officials supplying the chemical weapon Sarin to the Al-Nusra Front through former Iraqi Brig. Gen. Adnan al-Dulaimi. The report detailed how "several former Iraqi military engineers trained the Al-Nusra Front on how to use these chemical weapons” adding that all plans in this connection were prepared by al-Dulaimi and staged after Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri's approval. The sourcing of this report is said to be an aide to al-Douri.[126]

Chemical weapons

In June 2014 Human Rights Watch reported that several rebel groups including al-Nusra have enlisted child soldiers into their ranks.[125]

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.

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,[47] targeting (destruction/killing) of pro-government media stations and personnel.

Weaponry and tactics

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 from those locations are better established and navigable.[123] 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.[124]

At least one Arab government has accused Qatar of helping al-Nusra.[120] The US Government has been sending weapons to rebels in Syria since at least late 2013, and perhaps as early as 2011, during the begininning phases of the conflict. These weapons have been reportedly falling into hands of extremists, such as al-Nusra and ISIL.[121][122]

External support

[119] On 11 September, the kidnapped Fijian soldiers were released.[118], called for Singha’s death after he allegedly called the Filipinos soldiers cowards.Davao City On 8 September, Rodrigo Duterte, the mayor of [117] Lieutenant General Iqbal Singh Singha. Singha had allegedly ordered the Filipinos peacekeepers to surrender arms to ensure the safe release of the Fijian soldiers.Indian Colonel Ezra Enriquez of the Philippines, who over-saw the operations, resigned over disagreements with [116] peacekeepers.Irish The rescue operation was carried out by [115] On 31 August, one group of 32 Filipinos soldiers was rescued and the other group of 40 soldiers escaped.[114] were trapped under fire in nearby Rwihinah.Philippines At the same time, two groups of UN peacekeepers from [113] On 28 August 2014, militants from the group kidnapped 45

As of July 2013, al-Nusra controls Ash-Shaddadeh, a town of roughly 16,000.[111]

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.[110]

The group has taken part in military operations with the Free Syrian Army.[108] 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."[109]

Though it was initially reported that Syrian Catholic priest François Murad was beheaded at a church in Gassanieh, he was actually shot dead.[107]

In February 2013, Al Nusra fighters were involved in fighting in Safira with regime 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.[106]

Al Jazeera reported on 23 December 2012 that the 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.[105]

Members of the 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 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.[103] The SOHR claimed a total of 50 soldiers were killed in the Sahl al-Ghab attack.[104]

The group seized three army checkpoints around Saraqeb at the end of October 2012, forcing the 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 referring to them as probable war crimes.[101][102]

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.[100] 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.[53]

In the air defense base assault they reportedly destroyed buildings and sabotaged radar and rockets after overrunning the base in cooperation 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.[99]

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

The al-Nusra Front also claimed responsibility for attacking numerous Syrian military bases, including:

On 3 October, three suicide car bombs exploded at the eastern corner of the central Saadallah Al-Jabiri Square killing 48 people,[94] as it was announced by the Ministry of interior. More than 122 people were reported to be heavily injured.[95] Al-Nusra claimed responsibility for the attack.[96] 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.[97][98]

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

In mid-July 2012, [51][93]

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.[91] Al-Nusra claimed responsibility for the attack and published photos of 11 station employees they kidnapped following the raid.[92]

On 17 June 2012, Walid Ahmad al-Ayesh, described by Syrian authorities as the "right hand" of the 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 in the previous months.[89] 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.[90]

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.[87] On 5 June 2012, the al-Nusra Front claimed responsibility for the killings, stating that they had captured and interrogated the soldiers in Deir ez-Zor and "justly" punished them with death, after they confessed to crimes.[88]

[86] The

The Al Nusrah Front announced the formation of the "Free Ones of the Levant Brigades" in a YouTube video statement that was released on January 23. In the statement, the group claimed that it attacked the headquarters of security in Idlib province.[84] "To all the free people of Syria, we announce the formation of the Free Ones of the Levant Brigades," 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."[84]

The al-Midan bombings of January 2012 were allegedly carried out by a fighter named Abu al-Baraa al-Shami. Footage of the destruction caused by the blast was released on a jihadist forum.[55] 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."

One of the first bombings which al-Nusra was suspected of and the first suicide attack of the war came on 23 December 2011, when two seemingly coordinated bombings occurred in the Syrian capital of Damascus, killing 44 people and wounding 166.[83]

During the Syrian civil war, the group launched many attacks, mostly against targets affiliated with or supportive of the Syrian government. As of June 2013, al-Nusra Front had claimed responsibility for 57 of the 70 suicide attacks in Syria during the conflict.[82]


In July 2014, an audio recording attributed to al-Julani appeared online, in which he said that al-Nusra planned to establish an Islamic emirate in areas of Syria that they have a presence. A statement issued on 12 July 2014 by al-Nusra's media channel affirmed the authenticity of the recording but that they had not yet declared the establishment of an emirate.[78][79][80][81]

Some units of al-Nusra began taking part in clashes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,[72] and in February 2014, after continued tensions, al-Qaeda publicly disavowed any relations with ISIS.[73] In the same month, al-Julani threatened to go to war with ISIS over their suspected role in the killing of senior Ahrar ash-Sham commander Abu Khaled al-Souri. al-Julani gave ISIS five days to submit evidence that they were innocent in the attack to three imprisoned Jihadist clerics, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, Abu Qatada al-Falastini, and Suleiman al-Alwan.[74] On 16 April 2014, ISIS killed al-Nusra's Idlib chief Abu Mohammad al-Ansari together with his family, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.[75] In May 2014, open fighting soon broke out between ISIS and al-Nusra in Deir ez-Zor Governorate, leaving hundreds dead on both sides.[76] By July 2014, al-Nusra had largely been expelled from the province.[77]

[68] In May 2013,

In April 2013, the leader of the 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 an extension of al-Qaeda in Iraq in Syria.[44] Al-Baghdadi said that Abu Mohammad al-Julani, the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, had been dispatched by the group along with a group of men to Syria to meet with pre-existing cells in the country. Al-Baghdadi said that the ISI had provided Jabhat al-Nusra with the plans and strategy needed for the Syrian Civil War and had been providing them funding on a monthly basis.[66] Al-Baghdadi then declared that the two groups were officially merging under the name "Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham." (ISIS)[66] The next day al-Julani rejected the merger and affirmed the group's allegiance to Al-Qaeda and its leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri. 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."[67]

Split with Islamic State of Iraq

[65]."Assad On 14 December 2012 thousands of Syrians protested against the US move, under the slogan of "There is no terrorism in Syria except that of [64] The leader of the

While some FSA leaders are worried by al-Nusra Front's theocratic ideology and plans for Syria's future, they see foreign extremists as a welcomed boost to the fight against the Assad regime, bringing experience from Iraq and Afghanistan.[42][54] While FSA has consistently stated their disapproval of al-Nusra Front's use of suicide bombs, they have also thanked them for some suicide operations with strategic benefit, such as the attack on the Menagh Airbase.[54][62] Some disgruntled voices within the FSA accuse al-Nusra Front and others of "hijacking a revolution that began as an uprising to demand a democratic system."[42] The leader of a rebel group in Idlib Province said "We are not fighting Bashar al-Assad to go from living in an autocratic to a religious prison".[42] A "senior political official" of the FSA said "Their presence is reducing the popular support that we desperately need in areas where we operate [...] I appreciate their motives for coming to Syria. We cannot deny Muslims their right to jihad, but we want them to leave".[54] In some parts of Syria, "Jihadist and secular rebel groups watch each other's military bases warily, unclasping the safety catches on their guns as they pass."[42] Some members of the FSA believe that, after the Assad government has been overthrown, the next war will be between the FSA and the Islamists.[42]

The al-Nusra Front has been a great help to Syrian rebels in the Battle of Aleppo. One rebel said that members of the group "rush to the rescue of rebel lines that come under pressure and hold them [...] They know what they are doing and are very disciplined. They are like the special forces of Aleppo."[54] After the US designated al-Nusra Front as an AlQaeda linked terrorist group, several rebel groups defied the US classification and rallied behind al-Nusra Front declaring "We are all Jabhat Al Nusra."[59] A Free Syrian Army (FSA) leader in Aleppo berated the move and a FSA spokesman in Aleppo said "We might not share the same beliefs as Jabhat al-Nusra, but we are fighting the same enemy."[60] Some FSA fighters defected to the al-Nusra Front.[61]

Role in the Syrian Civil War

US intelligence agencies had originally suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq for the bombings in Aleppo and Damascus.[55] Iraq's deputy interior minister said early February that weapons and Islamist militants were entering Syria from its country.[56] The Front claimed credit for suicide attacks in the Syrian capital of Damascus al-Zahra al-Zubaydi.[57] A defected diplomat named Nawaf al-Fares stated in an interview with the The Daily Telegraph that jihadis were used by the Syrian government in attacks against civilians so that the government could blame the deaths on Syrian rebels.[58]

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has said that al-Qaeda in Iraq members have gone to Syria, where the militants previously received support and weapons, in order to join the al-Nusra Front.[52] They are considered to be the best trained and most experienced fighters among the Syrian rebels.[53] The group has refused calls for a ceasefire in Syria.[54]

The al-Nusra Front released its first public statement on January 24, 2012, in which they called for armed struggle against the Syrian government. The group claimed responsibility for the [51] and possibly the 10 May 2012 Damascus bombings.

The Quilliam Foundation, in a briefing paper, reports that many of the group's members are Syrians who were part of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's Islamist network fighting the American forces in Iraq. Many of these Syrians remained in Iraq after the withdrawal of American forces, but upon the outbreak of Syrian civil war in 2011, the Islamic State of Iraq sent the Syrian mujahideen and individual Iraqi experts in guerrilla warfare into Syria. A number of meetings were held between October 2011 and January 2012 in Rif Dimashq and Homs where the objectives of the group were determined.[47]



All statements and videos by the 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]

An increasing number of Americans have been attempting to join the fighting in Syria, specifically with al-Nusra.[49] Most recently, 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.[49] 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-Nusrah.[50]

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).[47]

[1] All potential recruits must undertake a 10-day religious-training course, followed by a 15-to-20-day military-training program.[47] The structure of the group varies across Syria. In

On 18 December 2013, he gave his first television interview, to Tayseer Allouni, a journalist originally from Syria, for Al Jazeera.[48]

The leader, a self-proclaimed Amir, of al-Nusra goes by the name of 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). Very little is known about him, with even his nationality unclear.[47] However, in an interview with Al Jazeera, he spoke Classical Arabic with a Syrian accent.[48]


Members of the group have referred to the United States and Israel as enemies of Islam[40] and warned against Western intervention in Syria.[42] Syrian members of the group claim they are only fighting the Assad government and would not attack Western states.[42] The United States accused it of being affiliated with al-Qaeda in Iraq;[43] in April 2013, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq released an audio statement affirming this connection.[44][45][46]

Members of the group are accused of attacking the religious beliefs of non-Sunnis in Syria, including the Alawis.[40] 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 "can appear less focused on toppling" the al-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."[41]

In early 2014, Dr. Sami Al Oraidi, a top Sharia official in the group, acknowledged that his group is influenced by the teachings of Abu Musab al-Suri. The strategies derived from Abu Musab’s guidelines include: providing services to people, avoid being seen as extremists, maintaining strong relationships with communities and other fighting groups, and putting the focus on fighting the regime.[39]

This resistance group is generally made up of Sunni Islamist mujahideen. Its goal is to overthrow Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria and create an Islamic Emirate under Sharia.[37][38]

Al-Nusra aims to overthrow the Assad regime and replace it with a Sunni Islamic state. Although it is affiliated with Al Qaeda, al-Nusra does not emphasize Western targets or global jihad, focusing instead on the “near enemy” of the Syrian state.[36]



  • Ideology 1
  • Analysis 2
  • History 3
    • Background 3.1
    • Role in the Syrian Civil War 3.2
    • Split with Islamic State of Iraq 3.3
  • Attacks 4
  • External support 5
  • Weaponry and tactics 6
    • Chemical weapons 6.1
  • Designation as a terrorist organization 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

and Turkey. [35] the United States,[34] Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom,[33][32] Canada, New Zealand, [31] Australia,[30]

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