Al-Nusra Front to remain Al-Qaeda aligned
Abu Mohammad al-Julani, Commander the Al-Nusra Front, held a low-profile press conference in Syria, which was broadcast on the Arab news channels. Below are some topics that Al-Julani addressed at the press conference:
Russian involvement in Syria: according to Al-Julani, the Russian attacks do not change anything in the balance of power in Syria. According to him, the Al-Nusra Front has passed the “shock phase” as a result of these attacks, and the fighting continues. Al-Julani believes that Russia is not competing with Iran on Syrian territory, and that there is a “division of labour” between them. According to him, the Russians want a foothold in the region, while the Iranians are also involved in grassroots activity, engage in spreading Shiism and seek to take over Syria from a political standpoint.
Turkish involvement: according to Al-Julani, Turkey aims first and foremost to fight the Kurds, thereby strengthening the Islamic State. According to him, under Sharia law, the Al-Nusra Front is prohibited from cooperating with Turkey and therefore the Al-Nusra Front transferred its strongholds north of Aleppo to various rebel groups.
The connection to Al-Qaeda: the Al-Nusra Front is Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria and will remain so. The organisation has no intention of severing its ties with Al-Qaeda. However, Al-Julani noted that the organisation’s mission is to fight against the Assad regime, Hezbollah and its allies, and not against the United States or the West.
Support for the organisation: according to Al-Julani, the organisation does not receive weapons or any external support whatsoever from any country. According to him, the Al-Nusra Front has tanks, BMP APCs and anti-aircraft weapons, seized from the Syrian Army or purchased from other organisations. He said that there were “several commercial and economic fields” that the Al- Nusra Front was engaged in, in order to finance the purchase of weapons.
The southern front (i.e., the southern Syrian Golan Heights): the Al- Nusra Front is busy in this area fighting against the Al-Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade and other organisations in the region that receive assistance from the United States. The Syrian government tried to take advantage of the fighting between the organisations in order to attack them from the direction of Quneitra, but failed to do so.
This report has been provided by Global Risk Awareness.