Al-Nusra and ISIL may unite to face U.S. strikes

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Militants of al-Nusra Front. File photo

ARA News

Damascus, Syria – The ongoing U.S.-led air strikes against Islamists in Syria could lead al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, to join the Islamic State (IS/ISIL), an al-Qaeda offshoot, despite one year of conflict between the two groups.

Al-Nusra and IS are both targeted by the U.S.-led international coalition in various areas of Syria. Dozens of militants from both groups were reported dead during the last five days amid intensive air strikes against their strongholds in northern Syria.

Although al-Nusra holds hostility towards IS, the latter seems better organized and joining its ranks might lead to a stronger militant group to face the current international attacks, according to observers.

More than 200 Islamists joined the ranks of the Islamic State in northern Aleppo last week, most of them were from al-Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra), the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Activists said that although al-Nusra will be obliged to dissolve its ranks and announce allegiance to the IS Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the reality on the ground seems critical for al-Nusra as it’s losing power day by day amid the current U.S.-led attacks.

“The leadership of al-Nusra might refuse joining the ranks of IS, but the pressures of its militants to form a stronger Islmist power to face U.S. and its allies could force the leadership to submit to the reality and hold a reconciliation with the Islamic State,” a member of Nusra told ARA News, under the condition of anonymity. “Despite the rifts between the (al-Nusra) Front and the Islamic State, forming a coalition seems a necessity at the moment.”

 

Reporting by: Maha Hassan

Source: ARA News

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