Syria Al-Qaeda Group Seeks Rivals’ Help to Fight Govt

Leader suggests that rebels attack Aleppo

Having previously overrun all the Turkish-backed rebel forces in Idlib Province, al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate is now urging those same rebels to help them out, as they have gotten into growing fights with the Syrian military and are losing.

The al-Qaeda group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) had been pushing south from Idlib into government territory in Homs, ignoring the Russo-Turkish “buffer zone.” The Syrian military has similarly ignored the buffer zone in retaliatory attacks.

Since the Turkish rebels were chased into Aleppo Province by al-Qaeda, the al-Qaeda forces are now suggesting that they might force the Syrian military away from Idlib by attacking the city of Aleppo.

It’s not clear why the Turkish rebels would feel inclined to do al-Qaeda any favors after al-Qaeda took almost all their territory. At the same time, Turkey is giving lip-service to the notion that Syria is violating the buffer zones, even though the buffer zone was never intended to include al-Qaeda in the first place. It may suggest Turkey at least wants to give the appearance they might endorse a rebel offensive.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.