Al-Qaeda linked jihadist group gaining prominence in war against Assad in Syria
Aleppo (Syria0, Aug. 20 (ANI): A jihadist organization that first surfaced on the Internet to claim responsibility for suicide bombings in Aleppo and Damascus is gaining prominence in the war in Syria to topple President Bashar al-Assad.
In Aleppo, the al-Nusra Front for the Protection of the People of the Levant, widely known as the Jabhat al-Nusra, is sending hundreds of fighters, some of them foreigners, in the battle to control Syria's commercial capital.
In an interview, Jabhat al-Nusra commander Abu Ibrahim said he has around 300 men under his control.
Abu Ibrahim said his contingent included men from Morocco, Libya, Tunisia and Lebanon, as well as one Syrian, who had fought in Iraq against Americans.
According to the Washington Post, the group, suspected of having links with the al-Qaeda, said it is also fighting in other locations such as Homs and Idlib.
The increasing role of the group in Syria has prompted concerns that the 17-month-old uprising against Assad's regime is becoming radicalized, the report said.
According to the report, Jabhat al-Nusra's growing prominence in Syrian cities shows that the United States and its allies have been reluctant to arm Syrian rebels even as Obama administration has repeatedly said that Assad must go.
"This is the premier jihadi organization in Syria right now," Aaron Y. Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said, adding: "There is, however, no evidence that the group has logistical or financial ties to al-Qaeda".
According to the report, most analysts have said that the group has a relatively minor role in Syrian war. (ANI)
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