Jabhat al-Nusra senior official denies breaking away from al-Qaeda

Amid chatter from Jabhat al-Nusra sources and western reporters claiming the group was breaking away from al-Qaeda to form a new entity backed by Gulf states, JaN senior official Abu Maria Al-Qahtani released a statement formally denying the claim; furthermore, Qahtani acknowledged that the group may receive funding from any party (including governments) so long as it does not interfere with their ideology, commitment to jihad, and aligns with Sharia, in what was likely a direct reference to Qatar’s financial support on the group. The statement was released amid reports indicating JaN leader Abu Mohammad al-Golani had met with Qatari officials multiple times in the recent term and days after an airstrike dealt a major blow to the group’s senior leadership. 

That said, the statement also indicated that if JaN was confronted with what it perceived to be a choice between continuing its formal alliance with al-Qaeda or protecting what it believes to be in the best interest of the Syrian people — JaN would chose the later; the fact that the commander subtly made this point underscores an existing tension between the two parties. 

What is clear across the region and elsewhere is al-Qaeda seems to be an organisation on the decline since Bin Laden was killed in a US raid by special forces “SEALs” and the “vacuum” left by them is where ISIS are trying to focus on causing speculation of where current allegiances lie. This is only likely to continue in the foreseeable future.

This report and supporting pictures have been provided by Global Risk Awareness.