And our new Syrian “allies” are demanding Obama back Al Nusra.
On the same day the US government announced that al Qaeda in Iraq’s Al Nusrah Front was a terrorist organization, Al Nusrah and nine other jihadist groups banded together in the Syrian province of Deir al Zour and formed a Mujahideen Shura Council.
The 10 jihadist groups, headed by the Al Nusrah Front, released a statement yesterday announcing the council’s formation “on jihadist forums and pro-Syrian resistance social networking sites,” according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which obtained and translated the message.
“The jihadi Islamic brigades in the city of proud Deir al Zour in the Levant of Islam and garrison announce the establishment of the Mujahideen Shura Council in Deir al-Zour,” the statement said, according to SITE. The groups that joined the Mujahideen Shura Council in Deir al Zour are listed at the beginning of the statement, in the following order:
1. Al Nusrah Front
2. Al Ansar Brigades
3. Al Abbas Brigades
4. La Ilaha Ila Allah [There is No God but Allah] Battalion
5. Al Hamza Brigade
6. Al Sa’qah Brigade
7. Jund al Aziz Brigade
8. Izzuddin al Qassam Brigade
9. Abu al Qassam Brigade
10. Brigade of the Da’wa [Preaching] and Jihad Front
The Mujahideen Shura Council in Deir al Zour was formed to “unite the ranks of the jihadi brigades in the Cause of Allah, organize the efforts and the attacks against the soldiers of disbelief and apostasy, and distinguish the ranks of truth from falsehood,” the group stated.
Jihadist groups in Syria are “beginning to coalesce under a single command, and are following the lead of the Al Nusrah Front,” a US intelligence official familiar with the situation in Syria told The Long War Journal.
“Al Nusrah isn’t the only jihadist group operating in Syria, but as part of al Qaeda’s franchise it has access to its resources and expertise,” the intelligence official continued. “Al Nusrah has the cachet to organize the local jihadists and integrate them.”