Posted tagged ‘Al Nusra Front’

Russian embassy in Damascus shelled from terrorist-controlled area of Syria

October 4, 2016

Russian embassy in Damascus shelled from terrorist-controlled area of Syria

Published time: 4 Oct, 2016 10:26 Edited time: 4 Oct, 2016 12:33

Source: Russian embassy in Damascus shelled from terrorist-controlled area of Syria — RT News

The Russian embassy in Damascus came under fire on Tuesday from a neighborhood controlled by militant groups, including Al-Nusra Front, the Russian Foreign Ministry reports.
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Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front fighters © Stringer

One of the mortar shells fired at the embassy complex hit the residential area, while two others landed near the embassy building, the ministry said in a statement. Nobody was injured by the explosions.

“According to reports, the shelling came from the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus, which is under control of the terrorist groups Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and Failak ar-Rahman,” the ministry said.

Jabhat Fateh al-Sham is the new name taken by Al-Nusra Front, the Al-Qaeda offshoot universally considered a terrorist organization. Failak ar-Rahman is a lesser-known Islamist group.

Moscow said the shelling is “result of the actions of those who, like the US and some of its allies, provoke the continued bloodshed in Syria and flirt with militants and extremists of all flavors.”

The ministry said Russia would take “all necessary measures” to return peace and security to Syria.

READ MORE: 30 killed, scores injured in suicide bombing at Kurdish wedding in Syria

The Russian embassy in Damascus has come under militant fire on several occasions. The Syrian capital remains under threat despite the efforts of the army to fend off armed groups.

Russia to give strongest air support to Syrian army in Aleppo area

June 6, 2016

Russia to give strongest air support to Syrian army in Aleppo area – Lavrov

Published time: 6 Jun, 2016 12:32 Edited time: 6 Jun, 2016 12:59

Source: Russia to give strongest air support to Syrian army in Aleppo area – Lavrov — RT News

Igor Kovalenko / Sputnik

“We will decide on how our air forces should act, depending on the situation,” Lavrov said in a media conference following talks with his Finnish counterpart. “This will not be a surprise for the Americans.”

Al-Nusra Front, an al Qaeda offshoot in Syria, went on an offensive in Aleppo last week. The Russian military blamed the US for stalling Russian airstrikes against the terrorist group’s forces in the region. The US said moderate rebel groups mingled with the terrorists in some areas and that Russia should use caution and not strike those groups by mistake.

“We believe there was plenty of time for the ‘normal’ opposition to leave Nusra Front territories since February. Those who didn’t part ways with the terrorists have only themselves to blame,” Lavrov added.

Moscow hopes that the US is not trying to do anything behind Russia’s back, Lavrov said.

“We expect our partners to cooperate with us honestly and not try to use our regular contacts to secretly go with a Plan B, C or D behind our back.”

Russia and the US jointly support a peace process in Syria that aims to produce a transition government approved by both the so-called “moderate rebel” groups and the government of Syria. A truce between all sides who claim to share this goal was established in February, reducing the violence in the war-torn country.

READ MORE: 270 civilians killed in terrorist shelling in Syria as Al-Nusra regroups – Russian MoD

Terrorist groups Al Nusra Front and Islamic State are not part of the process and do not uphold the ceasefire. Russia accuses certain other Islamist militant groups operating in Syria of not being honest and siding with the terrorists, but the US opposes designating those groups as legitimate targets for military attacks, arguing that they have the backing of Saudi Arabia and a place at the negotiating table in Geneva.

The situation is further complicated by the sheer number of armed groups in Syria and the complexity of their allegiances and rivalries, which makes distinguishing terrorists and “moderate rebels” often problematic.

US asks Russia not to target Al-Qaeda branch in Syria

June 4, 2016

US asks Russia not to target Al-Qaeda branch in Syria – Russian FM Lavrov

Published time: 4 Jun, 2016 01:04 Edited time: 4 Jun, 2016 02:48

Source: US asks Russia not to target Al-Qaeda branch in Syria – Russian FM Lavrov — RT News

Washington has asked Moscow not to conduct airstrikes against al-Nusra Front, which is Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, for fear that members of the “moderate opposition” could also be hit, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has reported.

“They [the US] are telling us not to hit it [al-Nusra Front], because there are also ‘normal’ opposition groups [on those territories],” Lavrov said in an interview with local Russian media that was published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.

The minister also stressed that “such opposition groups should leave terrorist positions,” adding that “we have long agreed on that.” Russia first set a deadline for the “moderate” opposition to leave territories occupied by al-Nusra Front extremists, but then agreed to give them more time to withdraw.

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© Reuters

In the interview, Lavrov said that Russia believes that taking specific and more effective measures to fight the Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL) and al-Nusra Front terrorist groups should be the top priority for Russia and the US if the Syrian crisis is to be resolved.

READ MORE: Russian fighter jets destroy ISIS oil facilities close to Turkish border (VIDEO)

“It is important to provide humanitarian access to the settlements blocked by one side or another, to secure the ceasefire and to prevent its violation, as well as to launch the political process… but, as important as these goals are, terrorism is our common threat, and there should be no doubt about that,” he said, adding that, in the meantime, al-Nusra Front has been attempting to merge with other armed opposition groups.

Lavrov also said that the political process in Syria is being held back by radical opposition groups that refuse to come to the negotiating table and set preconditions for peace talks. He added that it is important to set aside these demands and focus on the fight against terrorism.

The minister also emphasized that Russia and the US are involved in a close and intensive dialog on Syria that includes regular telephone calls between Lavrov and his US counterpart, John Kerry, and a video-conference channel set up between the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria located at the Khmeimim airbase in Latakia and the US base in the Jordanian capital of Amman, as well as a joint US-Russian center in Geneva.

Lavrov had held a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry at the initiative of the US side earlier the same day, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The two ministers discussed “the fight against ISIS and the need to urgently distance the moderate opposition from the Jabhat al-Nusra group, as well as efforts to cut off the flow of weapons and militants coming from abroad to beef up terrorist organizations,” the statement said.

In the meantime, Kerry, who is in Paris, told journalists that he had discussed the upsurge in violence in Syria during the phone call with Lavrov, explaining that the two had worked specifically on “ways to try to strengthen the enforcement and accountability for this cessation,” AP reported.

In the meantime, the US State Department said that Washington has asked Russia to be “more careful” in targeting its airstrikes against al-Nusra Front, as hitting civilians or opposition groups while attacking the jihadists could eventually give more support to the terrorist groups.

“[The US State] Secretary conveyed to Russia and the Assad regime that they need to carefully distinguish between these terrorist groups operating on the ground and those parties to the cessation of hostilities,” US State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said during a briefing on Friday, adding that the US agrees that IS and al-Nusra Front “pose a real threat to the security on the ground in Syria.”

‘US trying to play both sides to continue Syrian conflict’

Geopolitical analyst Patrick Henningsen told RT he believes Washington is not doing enough to convince so-called “moderate” rebel groups to part ways with terrorists.

By designating militants who share the same areas and positions with terrorists as “moderate opposition,” the US is actually providing the terrorists with a safe haven, Henningsen reasoned. The terrorist groups are profiting from such neighborly relations the same way they make use of civilians.

“The classification of moderate rebels is a type of the human shield,” he said.

Hennigsen claims that the lack of a clear signal to the rebel groups coming from Washington is the result of a deliberate strategic choice made by the US government, which wants the military conflict to drag on.

“All this talk of co-mingling, this is all double-speak,” he noted, adding that Washington is “trying to play both sides this to continue this conflict” and has no intention of actually resolving the issue.

Ceasefire after 5 years of Syrian civil war?

February 22, 2016

Syria: Ceasefire between the West and rebel groups starting Saturday The Western powers and Syrian rebel groups agreed that a ceasefire will begin on Saturday. The rebel groups clarified that the agreement will only be valid if the Western powers participate in the ceasefire. The Western powers claimed that they would respect the ceasefire but continue to attack ISIS and the al-Nusra Front.

Feb 22, 2016, 7:30PM Becca Noy

Source: Ceasefire after 5 years of Syrian civil war? |

image description
Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Several reports were published this evening (Monday) that claim that a ceasefire agreement has been reached by the Western powers and rebel groups. The ceasefire, which is set to begin on Saturday, does not include ISIS or the al-Nusra Front.

The agreement that allows the Western attacks against the 2 terror organizations to continue is under harsh criticism from Western experts, who claim that Russia will not differentiate between the rebel groups and the 2 terror organizations.

image description
Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Despite the criticism and the fear among the rebel groups, the TV station that is identified with them reported that they approved the ceasefire. The report emphasized that the rebel groups agreed to accept the offer, provided that the Western powers fully back the agreement.

“We decided to accept the agreement under the condition that the Western powers guaranty that they will respect it,” said former Syrian prime minister Riad Hijab, who defected to Jordan. Hijab is supported by Saudi Arabia and is recognized as the Syrian opposition coordinator. Hijab added that this is only a temporary humanitarian ceasefire.

Senior Al-Qaeda leader killed in Syria airstrike

October 18, 2015

Senior Al-Qaeda leader killed in Syria airstrike

Published time: 17 Oct, 2015 16:17

Source: Senior Al-Qaeda leader killed in Syria airstrike — RT News

© Abdalrhman Ismail
A senior leader from Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, has been reportedly killed alongside two other members of the terrorist group in the province of Aleppo.

Sanafi Al-Nasr, who was allegedly killed in an airstrike near the town of Dana, was Al-Qaeda’s senior strategist and an important power broker, the Iranian Fars news agency reports, citing jihadist sources close to the killed militant leader.

Al-Nusra released several photos showing a car hit by an air strike along with several bodies of the dead militants, although their identities were not verified. However, jihadists claimed on social media that Al-Nasr had been killed.

Other photos published by the terrorist organization show the alleged graves of Al-Nasr and two other militants who were killed in an airstrike.

The death of Sanafi Al-Nasr, whose real name was Abdul Mohsen Abdallah Ibrahim Al-Charekh, was also confirmed by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who claimed the jihadist leader was killed on Thursday.

Al-Nasr, who was born in Saudi Arabia, was a member of Al-Qaeda’s so-called “Victory Committee” that was responsible for developing and implementing the group’s strategy and policies.

The jihadists did not specify if he was killed in a Russian airstrike or in an attack carried out by the US-led coalition. Some militants claimed on social media, it was a ‘Crusader coalition’ that delivered the strike.

Russian warplanes have been hitting militants’ positions near Aleppo for several days. On Thursday, they targeted a total of 32 militant positions in several provinces including Aleppo, the Russian defense Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov said.

On Saturday, Russian planes struck 49 jihadists’ targets in the provinces of Idlib, Hama, Latakia, Damascus, and Aleppo. “As a result of airstrikes, 11 command centers and control posts of the militants have been destroyed,” Konashenkov said.

An explosives workshop, three artillery positions, nine ammunition depots, two military equipment bases and 15 terrorist camps were also hit during the latest strikes, the ministry said.

The US-led coalition also conducted three airstrikes in Syria near Aleppo on Thursday targeting tactical units and an explosive device cluster, Reuters reports citing the coalition’s statement.

The Syrian army and Hezbollah fighters have started a major operation in the Aleppo province with Russia’s air support. They have already recaptured several villages and towns in the province.

A leaked German document confirms what we already know about Turkish support to Syrian rebels

October 8, 2015

A leaked German document confirms what we already know about Turkish support to Syrian rebels

Published October 6th, 2015 – 09:44 GMT


Source: A leaked German document confirms what we already know about Turkish support to Syrian rebels | Al Bawaba

Ahrar al-Sham is an ally of al-Nusra Front, Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate. (AFP/File)

Ahrar al-Sham is an ally of al-Nusra Front, Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate. (AFP/File)

It’s a report we’ve all heard before — that Turkey, along with Saudi Arabia, is supporting Syrian rebels to help take President Bashar al-Assad down.

According to the document leaked from the German Intelligence Services, Turkey is providing Ahrar al-Sham and the Islamic Front with weapons. Turkey denied the claim again in May, but it still doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

The document shows German parliamentarian Katrin Kunert’s written request from the German government on May 18.

Here’s a translation:

… Question 25 asked which Syrian parties are receiving which type of weapons from the Turkish government (if possible please list border cities where deliveries take place).

Answer: Since mid-November of 2014, information from Federal German Intelligence Service indicate that Ankara delivers weapons to armed Syrian rebel groups. Recipients are said to be the groups Ahrar al-Sham and Islamic Front. 

German paper Die Welt (“The World”), which published a photo of the document, seemed to confirm the document’s legitimacy when it reported Germany’s attempts to find the person who leaked it to PKK-owned media.

“The German Parliament is filing charges,” said Martin Steltner, a speaker of the prosecution, according to Die Welt. “We are investigating and the investigations will continue.”

So what’s the problem with Turkey supporting these rebels? Both Salafist groups, Ahrar al-Sham and the Islamic Front are known to have more extreme goals in the Syrian conflict. Ahrar al-Sham has partnerships with al-Nusra Front, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda and sometimes considered more dangerous than Daesh (ISIS) itself.

By Hayat Norimine





The so-called “buffer zone” — allegedly established to protect refugees and stage military operations aimed at ISIS — is a de facto no-fly zone used to protect jihadist fighters entering the country from Turkey.

More Evidence of Turkish Collusion with ISIS

Earlier this week a leaked German intelligence document confirmed reports that Turkey is directly assisting Harakat Ahrar ash-Sham al-Islamiyya, a coalition of Islamist and Salafist units that have vowed to establish a Sunni Wahhabist state under Sharia law in Syria.

Ahrar ash-Sham is aligned with al-Nusra which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

The Russians understand that Ahrar ash-Sham — currently the most powerful and effective jihadist group fighting in Syria — must be targeted if it hopes to turn back the effort to unseat Bashar al-Assad.

If NATO follows through on its promise to “defend all allies” by inserting troops in Turkey’s illegal “safe zone,” it will be effectively aiding and abetting the Islamic State.

In May declassified US Defense Intelligence Agency documents from 2012 revealed the United States and its partners in the Gulf states and Turkey supported the Islamic State and plan to establish a Salafist principality in Syria.

US-Backed Syrian Rebels Ally with Al-Qaeda in South, Surrender CIA-Supplied Weapons in the North

December 2, 2014

US-Backed Syrian Rebels Ally with Al-Qaeda in South, Surrender CIA-Supplied Weapons in the North

by Patrick Poole

December 2, 2014 – 7:59 am

via The PJ Tatler » US-Backed Syrian Rebels Ally with Al-Qaeda in South, Surrender CIA-Supplied Weapons in the North.


For months I’ve been reporting here at PJ Media about the ongoing cooperation between US-backed “vetted moderate” Syrian rebel units and designated terrorist groups ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria. This includes U.S.-backed rebel units who have defected wholesale to ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

Despite multiple reports of this cooperation, in September the congressional GOP leadership jumped on board with Obama’s proposal to spend an additional $500 million to arm and train the “vetted moderates” just weeks before the Obama administration abandoned the Free Syrian Army that had been the primary beneficiary of U.S. support for the past three years.

Now reports this weekend indicate growing cooperation between U.S.-backed rebels and Jabhat al-Nusra operating in southern Syria.

According to the LA Times:

Opposition activists reported intensified government bombardment in and around Sheik Maskin and the arrival of battle-tested loyalist reinforcements.

Fighting along with U.S.-backed rebels were elements of Al Nusra Front, the official Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria.

In a Facebook posting, Al Nusra supporters reported “vicious battles” in the Sheik Maskin area. Earlier posts also eulogized a prominent Al Nusra commander, Abu Humam Jazrawi, who was killed in the fighting.

Al Nusra’s participation illustrates how Western-supported rebel groups often cooperate with the Al Qaeda franchise, though both sides try to play down the extent of coordination. Recent clashes between Al Nusra Front and U.S.-backed rebels in northwestern Syria do not appear to have broken the de facto alliance between the Al Qaeda affiliate and West-backed fighters in the south. (emphasis added)

Meanwhile, in northern Syria as “vetted moderate” groups were forming an umbrella with hardcore jihadist groups, such as Ahrar al-Sham, other U.S.-backed units were surrendering to Jabhat al-Nusra (a trend I noted last month) and turning over their CIA-provided arms to Ahrar al-Sham, McClatchy reports:

On Friday, as the groups were meeting here, the Nusra Front stormed the bases of two moderate rebel groups in Syria’s north: the Ansar Brigades in Idlib and the Haqq Front in Hama. The two groups, both of which were receiving U.S. support through a covert CIA program, surrendered to Nusra, delivered their weapons to Ahrar al Sham and returned to their homes. (emphasis added)

And today Syria analyst Aron Lund noted that the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army signed an agreement last week with Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham for the Qalamoun area near the Lebanese border guaranteeing the imposition of sharia and creating a mutual defense pact.

The “vetted moderate” follies continue.