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بدھ، 21 مارچ، 2012

Did Al-Qaeda enter Syria?

After Ayman al- Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda was engaged in the Syrian crisis through his televised open latter to the "Mujahideen" (fighter), there were firequent new reports about Al-Qaeda`s presence in Syria.

Those following-up al-Qaeda Salafist Jihadist sites notice without any trouble that "those people" are involved from head to toe in the details of the course of the Syrian crisis, particularly in its military and security dimension. The Iraqi government is talking about the infilration of more than 400 of "al-Qaeda`s Mujahideen in Iraq" inti Syria and possibly through the same ways, which they took from the Levant" to "Mesopotamia".

Well informed sources specialist in the issues of al-Qaeda and political Islam stated that “small percentage” of the foreign fighters, some of them are close to al-Qaeda organization, are backing the rebels in Syria in their battle against the regime of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

 According to those sources, during the past few months, the entry of Sunni elements and fighters close to al-Qaeda trends was monitored, and this percentage that was confirmed by the sources is still few and refers to two Gulf countries that are turning a blind eye to the movements of Sunni fighters entering from Lebanon and Iraq, and they are Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which have announced their support for the militarization of the Syrian Revolution.

It is noteworthy that there is a presence and centralization of jihadist elements in Iraq near the Syrian border, and some of them are in Syria, and have worked and were brought up at the hands of the intelligence service.

Also, there are elements in Jordan and Lebanon, and those two countries are Syria’s neighbors. There is a close jihadist force seeing that the current Syrian scene is an opportunity to attack suddenly. As for Saudi Arabia, reports indicate today that there are very angry Sunni fighters waiting for the signal to enter the Syrian territories in order to avenge their fellow Sunnis, who are being killed by what they call the Iran-backed Alawite regime. The sources recall that Saudi Arabia had already re-directed al-Qaeda fighters to fight in Iraq and can today play out this task through motivating al-Qaeda elements to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The fatwa recently issued by a number of senior Sunni scholars (including some of the most prominent Saudis), which prohibits belonging to the Syrian security forces would contribute to achieving this.

Perhaps, this is what the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has felt, for she expressed her concern over the fact that the weapons provided for the Syrian rebels would reach to al-Qaeda organization and to those supporting it.

Iraqi well informed sources close to the jihadist organizations and forums indicated that the fighters who have entered the Syrian border had responded to an appeal by the organization’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who urged them to fight against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, with reference to the fact that those fighters have combat experience in Iraq.

It seems that this is true, given that anyone visiting the jihadist web sites could view a recently published video tape entitled “Go forward you the brave men of the Levant”, showing the leader of al-Qaeda urging the fighters to fight and to support of the Syrian uprising. Al-Zawahiri was calling the supporters of the organization in Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey to go to Syria to support the rebels there.

Moreover, a “jihadist” group emerged in Syria announcing itself as the “Supporting front for the people of Sham”; it is the first Syrian jihadist group close to al-Qaeda organization, and it announced itself in Syria, according to a leader from the Salafist Jihadist group, and this was shown on their jihadist forums’ web site. It was noted that the group released a video tape, 16 minutes and 47 seconds, produced by the White Manara Foundation for Media Production, which appears for the first time, showing a group of masked fighters being trained.

A man called Al-Fateh Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani, appeared in the video tape talking and describing himself as the General official of the Supporting Front. He urged the Muslims to join the Supporting Front, and attacked “the West, the Turkish regime, the Arab League, and the extinct Safavid Iran and its dream”, as he said.

Al-Joulani stated that he came to the land of Syria from one of the arenas of jihad, which he did not identify, with a group of his friends after months of the outbreak of what he called “the revolution” to support the people of Sham in their revolt against the “Baathist” regime. The tape also includes a short word for some men promising the “regime” that it will vanish. The video tape ends up presenting some armed formations and battalions that belong to the organization in several parts of Syria, including Hama, Deir Al-Zour, Idlib, Daraa, etc… noting that the tape is translated into the English language.

Some intelligence sources believe that al-Qaeda organization in the Mesopotamia actually carried out the attacks on the Syria intelligence facilities recently, and this might be true if we linked it to the statements made recently by the deputy interior minister of Iraq, when he said quite frankly that jihadist elements belonging to Al-Qaeda organization crossed the Iraqi-Syrian border and transported fighters, weapons, and equipments into Syria.

Over the past years, both Syria and the Syrian regime were kept under the eyes of al-Qaeda and the past few years witnessed several clashes between the Syrian forces and fundamentalist “Takfiri” groups on the Syrian territories. This armed conflict was publicly known, and this explains that there is a clear change in the Syrian position towards these groups and their presence especially after some reports mentioned the entry of dozens of fighters from Iraq to Syria. During the past two years, there was a significant increase after Syria announced more than once the dismantling of a “fundamentalist group” such as the “Jund al-Sham organization” and the clashes that took place with a group that its members hold non-Syrian nationalities that wanted to cross into Lebanon coming from Iraq. Later, the Syrian authorities said that it found in a house used for suspicious purposes, passports, identity cards, and documents to people from several Arab nationalities. Those clashes took place near the Syrian-Lebanese border in the city of Homs, which lies about 200 km from the capital, Damascus. This was two years ago.

The facts often indicate that the largest jihadist organizations, those that are close to al-Qaeda organization, are located across the Syrian- Iraqi border. Those organizations have benefited from Damascus’ decision to support the Sunni resistance men between the years 2003 and 2008. However, the promotion of the Shiite authority in Iraq weakened those forces significantly.

For the time being, while Syria is disintegrated and the armed resistance opposing to the regime is formed, the jihadist flow is changing its path where the jihadist elements are now entering Syria coming from Iraq.

 Courtesy: Islam Times
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