Rebel groups seek collaboration to break East Aleppo siege

Rebel groups seek collaboration to break East Aleppo siege
Sixteen Syrian rebel groups have announced their support for Ahrar al-Sham in their fight against Jund al-Aqsa.
2 min read
08 October, 2016
A Jund al-Aqsa fighter flies his organisation's flag in Idlib province, Syria [AFP]
Sixteen different rebel groups in Syria have issued an announcement that they intend to work with rebel group Ahrar al-Sham to fight the salafist rebel group Jund al-Aqsa.

The communique was published via Twitter the same day as a YouTube video emerged of a rebel leader describing a 'coalition' force that would break the siege of Aleppo.

"God willing, the battle for Aleppo is very close and the camps of all the [rebel] factions are gathering, with [Harakat Nour al-Din] al-Zenki, Nusra [now: Jabhat Fateh al-Sham], Ahrar [al-Sham] - all of them as one army," said Molham Ekaidi, 26, a leader of the Fastaqim Union.

"Inside and outside Aleppo, we will fight as one."

Fighting between Ahrar al-Sham and Jund al-Aqsa has intensified in the area around Idlib in recent days, with graphic footage emerging of Jund al-Aqsa allegedly murdering prisoners.

Translation: All rebel factions inside and outside the city under a single command | Free Syrian Army 

The Twitter video has been taken from a YouTube video, published Friday, which shows Ekaidi speaking in front of a gathering at a mosque.

The announcement from the group of 16 rebel groups calls for a "speedy resolution" against Jund al-Aqsa, which they accuse of "assassinating numerous members" of rebel groups.

The US government designated Jund al-Aqsa a terrorist group on 20 September, as it is seen as having originated from al-Qaeda. It also placed Nusra Front, now Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, on the terrorist list in 2012.

A number of rebel groups issued a statement in September, allying themselves with Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, despite the US government's calls against them.