Islamist Factions Spurn Syrian Opposition Bloc

Groups Declare New Islamic State Centered Around Aleppo

by Jason Ditz, November 19, 2012

The more secular rebel factions are waiting for their official comments on the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (CORF) until they see if the group can actually get some weapons. Islamist factions aren’t waiting, however.

The al-Tawheed Brigade the al-Nusra Front, two major Islamist factions, have announced they are officially rejecting the CORF, and instead are declaring their own Islamic state centered around the northern city of Aleppo.

Though the groups are unlikely to curry as much favor in Western nations as the CORF, they have something the other umbrella group lacks: actual fighters on the ground. The two factions are the bulk of the rebel force in Aleppo, and command the loyalty of some of the fiercest fighters in the rebellion.

Making Aleppo their capital is mostly symbolic, however, since the groups don’t actually control Aleppo and there are still significant numbers of Assad government forces contesting the city, the nation’s industrial capital.

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