Nusrafronten har innledet et samarbeid med en av gruppene i Den frie syriske hær, FSA. Sammen har de erobret områder i sør og står nå ved Israels grense.
Dette skjer samtidig som representanter for Den frie syriske hær er i Washington for å be om våpenstøtte.
Premisset har hele tiden vært at FSA skal holde al-Qaida ute. Nå samarbeider Den revolusjonære fronten med Nusra. Det er lite sannsynlig at USA dermed vil gi den våpenstøtten opprørerne desperat ønsker seg.
A major Syrian opposition faction is cooperating with an al Qaeda-linked rebel group along the border with Israel as the opposition chief prepares to meet with officials in Washington to lobby for weapons, in part to fight al Qaeda.
The Syrian Revolutionaries Front, part of the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army, joined up with al Qaeda’s Nusra Front in the past few weeks to capture from the regime strategic hilltops in southwestern Quneitra province overlooking the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, according to FSA representatives with the fighters.
In Quneitra, the cooperation between Western-backed rebels and extremists comes at an embarrassing time for the main political opposition group in exile. The opposition’s president, Ahmed Jarba, is now in Washington and slated to meet Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday and President Barack Obama sometime during his visit to renew requests for American-made weapons.
Earlier this year, the Syrian Revolutionaries Front turned its weapons on another al Qaeda linked faction in Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The move was partly to persuade the West that the opposition is a steadfast partner in the war against extremists.
Over the last few weeks in Quneitra, the Syrian Revolutionaries Front increased their coordination with al Qaeda’s largest faction in Syria, the Nusra Front. They seized a string of hilltops in Syria’s part of the divided province that overlook the Golan, a strategic plateau which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. From there, the unified forces aim to push through to the capital Damascus, about 45 miles away.
En av kommandantene til FSA som var ansvarlige for å smugle våpen og ikke-militært materiell fra Jordan inn i Syria, ble kidnappet onsdag.
The opposition delegation member in Washington who denied FSA was coordinating with Nusra pointed to the radical group’s kidnapping of Ahmad al-Naimeh on Friday, an FSA military commander responsible for funneling lethal and nonlethal aid to rebels from Western and Arab supporters.
«Naimeh’s arrest signals that Nusra feels emboldened in the south,» said a Western official in Istanbul monitoring the Syrian civil war.
«Nusra may be wanting to assert its dominance in the south by controlling the support pipeline from Jordan» to the FSA, this official added.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the kidnapping of Mr. Naimeh would force Jordan to cut off support to rebels. A spokesman for Jordan’s government declined to comment on Wednesday.
Nusras fremrykking gjør Jordan nervøs. Israel vil neppe sitte stille og se på at al-Qaida står ved landets terskel.