The al-Nusra Front or Jabhat al-Nusra li ahl al-Sham (the Front for the Support of the People of Greater Syria) is an al-Qa’ida affiliate which has been operating in Syria since January 2012 and has emerged as one of the most successful rebel groups during the three-year civil war. It controls, either alone or with other rebel groups, several neighborhoods in Aleppo and the surrounding countryside. It also controls cities in the Raqa governorate, as well as rural areas in Idlib, Dair Al-Zour and Damascus, as well as the governorate of Dir’a in the southern part of the country. But because of its al-Qa’ida affiliation, it is also one of the main reasons behind US and western reluctance to provide more assistance to the rebels.

Jabhat al-Nusra (Jabhat) has publicly declared its allegiance to the al-Qa’ida leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and its leader, Muhammad al-Jawalani, issued a press release last week officially linking his group with al-Qa’ida, prompting the Syrian government to ask the United Nations to list it as a terrorist organization. The US labeled the group a terrorist organization last December. (CONTINUED - 1066 WORDS)