Al Qaeda to challenge ISIL in Syria

Moving into Syria is a strategic decision for Al Qaeda and reflects a growing effort to recuperate their losses in Pakistan.

Al Qaeda to challenge ISIL in Syria

World Bulletin / News Desk

Al Qaeda’s top leadership in Pakistan, has decided to move into Syria and has secretly sent more than a dozen of its most experienced veterans there, according to senior American and European intelligence and counterterrorism officials.

The deployed operatives have been instructed to create a new heaquarters in Syria in order with their affiliate the Nusra Front  to challenge ISIL. This would be a significant shift for Al Qaeda and its affiliate, which have until now have stopped short of creating any formal sovereign state, until they deem conditions on the ground are ready. Inevitably this would pose an elevated threat to the US and to Europe. Earlier in May, the leader Ayman al-Zawahiri criticised the UN-backed peace process to find a solution in Syria and praised al-Nusra Front.

"We have to want the unity of the Mujahideen in Sham [Syria] so it will be liberated from the Russians and Western Crusaders. My brothers ... the matter of unity is a matter of life or death for you," Zawahiri says.

According to analysts, the creation of an Al Qaeda presence in Syria would present the group with an invaluable opportunity,that would not only be within closer striking distance of Europe but also would benefit from the recruiting and logistical support of fighters from Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.

The presence of a senior cadre of experienced Qaeda leaders in Syria  has raised alarms in Washington as well as in the capitals of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

“We have destroyed a large part of Al Qaeda,” John O. Brennan, the director of the C.I.A., said this month on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It is not completely eliminated, so we have to stay focused on what it can do.”

Saif al-Adl, a senior member of Al Qaeda's Shura Council,is one of the operatives that intellgience services are focused on. He was repsonsible for the organization immediately after Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011. It is unclear whether Mr. Adl is in Syria, North Africa or somewhere else, American intelligence officials said.He also has a $5 million bounty on his head.

“As a senior adviser to Al Qaeda’s networks in Syria and proximate environs, al-Adl could be especially useful in helping to define strategies that will help the group achieve confidence-inspiring successes,” said Michael S. Smith II of Kronos Advisory, a terrorism research and analysis firm.

At this stage it is not certain how and when Al Qaeda might form an emirate in Syria that would hold territory.

Source: Al Jazeera/New York Times

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Mayıs 2016, 11:14