Al Qaeda Influence Within Syrian Opposition Continues to Grow
Al Qaeda affiliates in the Syrian opposition continue to grow in strength and numbers.
Members of al-Nursa Front, the offshoot of Al Qaeda in Iraq, are not only filling ranks in the opposition but exploiting tensions to pull Sunnis to their side.
Sunni Muslims have felt passed over and marginalized in the Free Syrian Army (FSA), creating a situation where religious loyalties can be manipulated and their commitment to the cause exploited for intense, determined warfare. As a result, numbers of Sunnis have exchanged their affiliation with the FSA for al-Nursa Front.
With these growing numbers, al-Nursa Front was able to claim responsibility for 45 attacks "in one day alone" last month.
Al-Nursa claims to be fighting to restore the Islamic Caliphate, "which dates back to the Prophet Mohammed's seventh century campaigns." They continue to pose a serious problem for the U.S., who just last week recognized the Syrian Opposition Coalition as the legitimate authority in Syria, while simultaneously labeled al-Nursa Front a terrorist organization.
How arms and monies will flow to one but not the other is yet to be understood.
Photo credit: Business Insider