The infighting among Syrian Islamist factions and the rivalries among the various al-Qaeda-linked groups are increasingly convoluted. You can’t tell the players without a program.
Today, commander of the Salafist Ahrar al-Sham faction Abu Khaled al-Soury was assassinated, along with six other fighters, in a suicide attack by al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).
Soury’s faction is part of the Islamic Front, nominally the “moderate” Islamist faction, but Soury had bragged of close ties to al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri. AQI, by contrast, continues to use the term “al-Qaeda” in their name, but has been disavowed by al-Qaeda’s parent organization for being too brutal.
Islamic Front fighters issued statements on social media calling for revenge attacks on AQI, saying they have been pushed “too far this time.” The assassination took place at Ahrar al-Sham headquarters in Aleppo.
Islamic Front and AQI have been fighting over territory for months, mostly in the northwestern portion of the country. Though Islamic Front initially seemed to have momentum, they have since lost much of that territory, and AQI seems to be securely back on the offensive.
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