[News] Al Nusra Front Implements Its Model in the “Liberated” Areas of Syria

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 13 16:06:59 EST 2012

*Al Nusra Front Implements Its Model in the “Liberated” Areas of Syria *

Yusuf Fernandez


An increasing number of international media outlets are currently 
describing a series of awful and scary developments in the 
militant-controlled areas of Aleppo and other Syrian towns or villages. 
Reports speak of numerous crimes committed by the armed groups in those 
zones and of protests by the local population against these militants, 
many of whom are foreigners.

Fadi Salem, a Syrian academic based in the Gulf region who visited 
Aleppo recently, wrote that even those in Aleppo who had previously 
supported the rebellion changed their mind when violence came with the 
flow of armed rebels to the city. “The population was not ready for 
this. The armed rebels are mostly not from the city itself. They do not 
have organic popular support”, he said.
While Western media keeps on insisting that these groups support the 
creation of a “healthy democracy” and a “rule of law” in Syria, the 
reality appears to be a bit different. One of them, the Revolutionary 
Committee of Aleppo, has recently installed a Taliban-style “Islamic 
Emirate” in the three areas that still controls in the city, as it 
previously happened in the quartier of Baba Amr (Homs) before its 
recapture by the Army.

The “herectis”, according to its extremist views –Sunnis, Sufis, 
Shiites, Alaouites and Ismaelites-, and the “infidels” -Christians- have 
been expelled of these areas and their belongings have been confiscated. 
The new “revolutionary” authorities also set up a “Committee to Command 
Good and Prohibit Impious Acts”, a Saudi-style religious police, to 
punish those people who do not follow their particular interpretation of 
the religion.

German journalist Daniel Etter recently wrote a report in the leading 
German newspaper Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung about his visit to 
rebel-controlled towns near Aleppo. In the article, he suggests that all 
rebels there are members of extremist groups. Etter´s report also 
provides evidence that rebel authorities subject civilians to arbitrary 
arrests and torture and summarily execute captured members of the 
regular Syrian Army. In the town of Maraa, north of Aleppo, Etter saw 
some 120 prisoners, apparently civilians, “herded into a large 
classroom” in what had previously been a school. “Many of the prisoners 
showed signs of abuse,” he said. Rebel groups are also making it clear 
that they have the intention to continue targeting supporters of the 
Syrian regime.

What Etter describe in his article are clearly war crimes and crimes 
against humanity. But in what refers to the crimes and atrocities 
committed by the Syrian and foreign militants, the West´s alleged moral 
sensibilities become dull.

*The Nusra Front´s role*

On the other hand, around 80% of armed groups, including the powerful Al 
Qaeda-linked Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra), have created a command 
center near the city of Idlib in northwestern Syria. All members of this 
command have recognized Sheikh Adnan al-Arour as their spiritual leader. 
Meanwhile, those commanders who disagreed with this extremist line have 
been killed and only Salafists or Wahhabis remain.

David Ignatius, a Washington Post foreign policy columnist, has written 
that the Nusra Front now has as many as 10,000 fighters on the ground in 
Syria and constitutes “the most aggressive and successful arm of the 
rebel force.” In the war fronts across the country, the Nusra Front and 
other similar groups are now doing the heaviest work.

According to the New York Times, the group is “a direct offshoot of Al 
Qaeda in Iraq”, Iraqi officials and former Iraqi insurgents say, “which 
has contributed with veteran fighters and weapons” to the rebellion in 
Syria. “This is just a simple way of returning the favor to our Syrian 
brothers that fought with us on the lands of Iraq,” said a veteran of Al 
Qaeda in Iraq, who said he helped the Nusra Front´s efforts in Syria, to 
the Times.

The newspaper adds that the group “killed numerous American troops in 
Iraq and sowed widespread sectarian strife with suicide bombings against 
Shiites and other religious and ideological opponents. The Iraqi group 
played an active role in founding the Nusra Front and provides it with 
money, expertise and fighters, said Maj. Faisal al-Issawi, an Iraqi 
security official who tracks Al Qaeda´s activities in Iraq´s Anbar 

The Nusra Front and other similar groups have also publicly rejected the 
authority of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and 
Opposition Forces, which has been recognized by the US, some European 
countries and Gulf Arab monarchies as the “legitimate representative” 
for both the Syrian exterior and interior opposition. The militants have 
called the creation of this coalition a “Western-led plot”.

*Washington discovers terrorism in Syria*

The rejection of the Nusra Front and other groups fighting on the ground 
to US-supported National Coalition has irritated Washington, which made 
a notorious effort in order to create it in the hope it may become a 
future puppet government in Syria. This fact makes it clear that the 
coalition does not have real support inside Syria.

The coalition was set up under the direction of the US State Department 
and US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, at a five-star hotel in Doha in 
November. Its leader, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, who is being described as a 
“moderate” in Western media, is known by making inflammatory sectarian 
speeches against non-Sunni religious groups. His main qualification for 
leadership appears to be his long and close relationship with the Shell 
Oil corporation.

On December 13, the US Departament of State formally designated the 
Nusra Front as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization”. In a teleconference 
with a select group of journalists, a senior State Department official 
justified the designation by accusing the organization of launching 
“hundreds of attacks, nearly 600, in major city centers across Syria in 
which numerous innocent Syrians have been injured and killed.”

This statement was rapidly condemned by the most extremist groups, which 
accused the US of carrying out an open interference in the Syrian 
conflict, but also by the US-supported Free Syrian Army, which publicly 
defended its vital ally.

With this decision, Washington pretended to have discovered that the 
Syrian terrorists are committing atrocities in the country. In the past, 
the US administration had dismissed as a “diversion” claims by the 
Syrian government that it was under attack by international terrorist 

This is another evidence of Washington´s hypocrisy. In 2003, the US 
Administration justified the war and invasion of Iraq not only with 
allegations about non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, but 
also with another false clain: the links between the former Iraqi regime 
and Al Qaeda. However, while the allegation of an Al Qaeda connection 
with Iraq was a complete fabrication, it has become clear that Al 
Qaeda-linked groups and foreign fighters are playing a decisive role in 
the Syrian conflict. However, the Obama administration keeps silence 
about it.

This silence can be explained because the terrorist groups inside Syria 
are actually acting as US proxies in the war for regime-change in Syria. 
They have been armed and funded by two US allies, Qatar and Saudi 
Arabia, and have launched a brutal sectarian civil war aimed at 
destroying Syria and creating the conditions for the imposition of a US 
puppet regime in the country. Washington is supporting extremist Takfiri 
forces in several nations of the Middle East because they promote a 
sectarian conflict directed at weakening the influence of 
Shiite-majority Iran.

Nevertheless, US support for such forces could led to a “blowback” as it 
happened in Libya where the US consulate and secret CIA facility in 
Benghazi were assaulted last September by Al Qaeda-linked elements. 
There is no doubt that some experts in Washington see a similar threat 
in Syria. Joseph Holliday, an analyst from the Institute for the Study 
of War, has warned that “the emergence of Al Qaeda-linked terrorist 
cells working against the Syrian regime poses risks to the United States 
and a challenge to those calling for material support of the armed 

US neocons reject this view and claim that the US should arm the Al 
Qaeda militias in order to overthrow Assad. In the neocon Weekly 
Standard, a recent article by Lee Smith harshly criticized Barack Obama 
and his administration because they have not acted forcefully against Syria.

*Al-Manar is not responsible for the content of the comments. All 
opinions expressed are those of the posters not Al-Manar’s or its staff. *

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