Too Brutal for al-Qaeda: Faction’s Executions Scar North Syria

AQI's Style of Rule Unsettling to Other Jihadists

The town of Adana, Syria was a relatively calm border town not so long ago. Then one day, the militants showed up, declaring the town part of the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syrian” (ISIS).

Now, checkpoints leading into the town are littered with corpses, and locals fear for their lives on a daily basis as the militants, also known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) impose a particularly harsh brand of Salafist Islam on the locals.

It’s a sad story, but an all too common one, as ISIS territory now covers a large portion of northern Syria, including the major city of Raqqa and most of the surrounding province, and their style of rule is so brutal that even the other Islamist rebels are standing up and taking notice.

Even al-Qaeda thought AQI was far too brutal for their tastes, and disavowed the group. Despite this loss of faith from al-Qaeda’s parent group, AQI has continued to gain territory in both Syria and Iraq.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of