The al-Nusrah Front is an off-shoot of al Qaeda in Iraq, now fighting with the ‘opposition’ in Syria. They are considered to be the best trained and most experienced fighters of all the Syrian rebels, and have been described as “the most aggressive and successful arm of the rebel force”. And they come from Iraq and other Islamist wars. They are not Syrian ‘rebels’, but foreign jihadis fighting the secular government of Bashar Assad.
al-Nusrah publicly announced its creation on January 23, 2012, and since then has taken credit for multiple major bombing attacks against the Assad regime, the murder of journalist Mohammed al-Saeed , and 43 suicide terrorist attacks in Syria. The group receives the bulk of its financial support from Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Its goal is to achieve the overthrow of the Assad regime and to establish an Islamic state that will be governed under sharia law.
Under Assad’s rule, minorities in Syria were largely
protected and lived their lives in relative safety. Today, the situation
has changed drastically. Christians, moderate or non-practicing
Muslims, Allawites, and other minorities now face the fear of death
every day at the hands of brutal and intensely cruel ‘rebels’. The
bodies of men, women, and children, many of them Christians and other
minorities, have been found horribly mutilated and tortured at the hands
of the so-called ‘opposition’ forces.
On December 11, 2012, al-Nusrah, which is comprised largely of Sunni Islamists, was designated by the USA as a terrorist organization . Wasting no time in response, a coalition of 29 other Syrian opposition groups immediately embraced al Nusra, effectively challenging the US decision.
The al-Nusra Front has released numerous statements and videos, produced by its media outlet, al-Manarah al-Bayda (The White Lighthouse). The output is distributed through the leading Jihadist webforum, Shamoukh al-Islam.