The most radical of the al-Qaeda-linked rebel groups, ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), now controls Jarablus, Aleppo where they beheaded FSA rebels and hung their heads on a fence in the street. ISIS was formed in April of 2013 and grew out of al-Qaeda’s affiliate organization in Iraq. It has since become one of the main jihadist groups fighting government forces as well as fighting FSA rebels who are also fighting government forces.
In a comprehensive profile in the New Yorker, President Obama dismisses the resurgence of Al Qaeda across the Middle East – downplaying its threat and comparing the group to a “Junior Varsity team.” When you consider the Al Qaeda flag is now seen flying in Falluja, Iraq and in various locations around Syria, however, it’s fairly obvious the terror group is anything but “on the run.” CNN reported last week that “al Qaeda appears to control more territory in the Arab world than it has done at any time in its history.”
Chicago Tribune An extremist rebel faction operating in Syria is reported to have killed an unknown number of prisoners it abducted near the contested city of Aleppo as its forces came under fire from rival opposition groups, activists said. Many of the victims of the execution-style killings by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the most extreme of the Islamist groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad, were activists, journalists, as well as FSA rebels, the reports said.
Acknowledged as a significant fighting force against the government, ISIS has nevertheless antagonized ordinary Syrians by kidnapping and torturing its opponents, many of whom had spoken against the ultra-conservative group’s harsh interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law, comparing the group’s methods to those employed by the regime in Damascus.
The infighting soon spread to the eastern parts of the country, including the rebel stronghold of Raqqah, a city where ISIS had routinely chipped away at other groups’ influence, as well as the town of Jarablus, a stone’s throw from the border with Turkey. According to activists, ISIS fighters there threatened to blow up their headquarters, known to contain a large number of prisoners.
MMedia The jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham called members of the opposition Syrian National Coalition a “legitimate target” in an audio message from an ISIS spokesperson on Tuesday.
In the message, published on a jihadist website, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani said that ISIS considers the opposition Syrian National “Coalition and national council and the chief of staff and military council [to] have declared and begun a war on it.” “Everyone who belongs to this entity is a legitimate target for us, in all places, unless he publicly declares his rejection of that group and of fighting the mujahedeen.”
Al-Adnani also urged ISIS fighters in Syria to “crush them [the rebels] totally and kill the conspiracy at birth,” warning opposition fighters that “none of you will remain, and we will make of you an example to all those who think of following the same path.”
Obama-backed al-Qaeda rebels have a conversation with a severed head, offering it some food.