Al-Qaeda Gains Ground Across Northern Syria

Nation Increasingly Split in Three by Civil War

Al-Qaeda factions, mostly al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and Jabhat al-Nusra, have taken over a growing number towns across Aleppo and Latakia Province, shoring up their control over the north and northwest of Syria.

Increasingly, the factions are carving out a sphere of influence in which secular rebels have limited control, and the Syrian military is more or less entirely ousted. But their battles aren’t going well everywhere.

Over the weekend, the al-Qaeda factions lost 19 separate towns across West Kurdistan, the northeastern portion of Syria, and the historically Kurdish region is now largely under the control of Kurdish militias.

Between those territories and the Syrian government’s stronghold around Damascus, the nation is increasingly split into three, with a lot of disputed territory in the middle of the country still being contested militarily, but the prospect of a sweeping victory by anyone remote, at best. Instead, the war is boiling down to a stalemate.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of