A small taste of things to come.
The Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, al Qaeda in Iraq’s affiliate in Syria, has imposed sharia, or Islamic Law, in a town in eastern Syria that is close to the Iraqi border. The area has served as a jihadist haven in the past.
“Islamist militants” from the Al Nusrah Front “have taken unclothed mannequins they see as sexually enticing out of the shops,” in the town of Mayadin, Reuters reported. The al Qaeda affiliate has “also prevented women from wearing trousers, preferring that they adopt the shapeless head-to-toe black veil.” Alcohol has also been banned in the town.
Al Nusrah Front fighters are providing “daily religious teaching” to children, and are recruiting teenaged boys to fight President Bashir al Assad’s regime. Additionally, the group is making a profit by selling oil, even to members of the Assad regime.
The imposition of sharia in Mayadin by the Al Nusrah Front is eerily similar to al Qaeda in Iraq’s activities in Anbar province and other areas in Iraq from 2004 to 2007. Taking advantage of the security vacuum that arose after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, al Qaeda in Iraq seized control of several towns and cities in western Iraq and declared Islamic emirates in towns like Haditha and Al Qaim, which is right on the Syrian border. The terror group immediately began to enforce its radical interpretation of Islamic law on Sunni tribesmen, who were too weak and disorganized to fight back.