For the second time in the last few months, a coalition of moderate Islamist rebel factions in northwestern Syria’s Idlib Province has announced the creation of a new “alliance” While the last alliance was aimed at fighting al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, the new alliance is said to be aimed at targeting Syria’s government exclusively.
Details on what the new alliance will be called are still emerging, but a top figure in Failaq al-Sham will be the leader, and a number of factions that are part of Ahrar al-Sham, whose leadership has long presented them as ideologically compatible with al-Qaeda, are also members.
While this appears to be little more than a rebranding away from fighting Nusra and toward fighting Syria’s military again, it appears to have been sufficient to get the US back on board with the idea, with rebels saying the US has recent resumed its supply of weapons and funds to the organizations.
The fighting with Nusra was mainly about the Astana peace talks, as Nusra was attacking the other rebels who were participating in the talks, accusing them of “conspiring” against them. Since then, the Astana talks have basically collapsed, with no rebels attending.
While the peace process itself isn’t totally dead, with talks still happening intermittently in Geneva, the Nusra Front appears to have stopped attacking the participants once the Astana effort ended.