Syrian opposition remains divided

Syrian opposition remains divided
The Sawaiq al-Rahman Brigade has announced it has killed several Nusra Front fighters, as clashes between opposition groups continue.
2 min read
23 February, 2015
Conflict continues between Nusra fighters and other Syrian opposition groups [AFP]
The Sawaiq al-Rahman brigade announced on Monday that it had killed six Nusra Front fighters, and injured several others in the countryside south of Idlib in northwest Syria.

The brigade is a Syrian opposition faction affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

"The operation was carried out in response to al-Nusra's attack on the town of Amiriyah, when it set fire to several houses - including one belonging to Mithqal al-Abdallah, a former Syrian Revolutionary Front (SRF) commander," the Sawaiq al-Rahman brigade stated.

     Al-Nusra has many enemies. It also has many hostages including my son.
- Col Haitham Afisi, former FSA deputy chief of staff
The brigade also recently killed Abu Hassan, an al-Nusra leader, in the town of Salqin in the countryside around Idlib. He was hanged for "violations committed by al-Nusra against the town's civilians", according to a statement issued by the brigade.

The FSA's special forces seventh division also issued a statement giving al-Nusra 48 hours to release those it took hostage nearly a week ago when it stormed its headquarters in the town of Ain Larouz. Those taken include the division's commander and several fighters.

The statement also called on al-Nusra to return all possessions it had taken, and to abide by "the law of God" to prevent further bloodshed.

Former FSA Deputy Chief of Staff Colonel Haitham Afisi said that, over the past eight months, al-Nusra had also attacked fighters from groups including the FSA, SRF, Hazzm, Maarat al-Noman martyrs brigade, Idlib martyrs' brigade, and those led by Mithal al-Abdallah and Yusuf al-Hassan.

"Al-Nusra has many enemies. It also has many hostages including my son, a brigade commander that has been detained for over four months," Afisi told al-Araby al-Jadeed. The colonel said the group had lost popular support and become a target itself, while that those it had attacked were likely to unite against it.

The Nusra Front is an al-Qaeda franchise operating in Syria and Lebanon that aims to overthrow the regime of President Assad in Syria. The group has been designated "a terrorist organisation" by many western governments.

In early November 2014, al-Nusra started expanding into the countryside around Idlib, after clashing with other opposition factions, particularly the SRF.

Al-Nusra has since seized control of most of the countryside south of Idlib, the provincial capital.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.