Syria

Al-Qaeda trying hard to defeat Syrian army

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The elements of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization in Syria are exerting all their strength to defeat the Syrian army, says an analyst.

The leader of the foreign-backed al-Nusra militant group fighting against the Syrian government has pledged allegiance to the al-Qaeda chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani, head of the terrorist al-Nusra Front, made the announcement in an audio message published on Wednesday. Many people, including large numbers of security personnel, have lost their lives in the crisis that broke out in Syria in March 2011. Damascus says the West and its regional allies including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are supporting the militants.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Alaa Ibrahim, a political commentator in Damascus, to further shed light on the issue. The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: I guess the topic to be discussed here is this what they want to call unification of the al-Qaeda in Iraq with the al-Nusra Front joining together. What was your reaction when they officially have come out saying this? Are you getting a sense that there is going to be a push of fighters maybe even on foreign fighters coming into Syria?

Ibrahim: I think foreign fighters have been coming into Syria in great numbers. It will not change now because of the new announcements. Let’s all remember that less than 3 or 4 months I think into the Syrian unrest in 2011, it was Ayman Zawahiri who came out and said that we should support our people in Syria, according to his statements, and that statement at that day coming from the head of one of the most notorious terrorist organizations in known history was an indication that they are directly involved in this conflict and that will change nothing in terms of the things on the ground.

Al-Qaeda is putting all its weight in the fight against the Syrian army; foreign fighters are pouring in from more than one border with Syria and this will not be changed. This will give the fighters more morale boost. I think this is more related to the recent altercations between the Free Syrian Army or the Free Army and Jabhat al-Nusra, the former name of the Islamic state in Iraq, the new name adopted by the al-Qaeda in Syria.

These altercations between the two factions of the armed opposition were mainly the result of having different agendas while the Jabhat al-Nusra have more radical extremist agenda, the Free Army has, some people would say, a less radical agenda but the fact remains that the Islamic militants who the Jabhat al-Nusra are much more powerful than the Free Army and they continue to do most of the fighting seen with the Syrian army.

So I think this unification and the recent announcement of this unification has more morale boost for al-Qaeda fighters in Syria; it is indicated to show that not only the Free Army is trying to unify different factions inside the Free Army, different brigades operating under the name of the Free Army, also the Islamic fighters are trying to unify themselves and giving themselves a more clear name, a brand if you wish, to call it in the upcoming stage of the fight.

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