Has al-Qaeda Replanted its Flag in Syria?

Artwork by supporters of the newly established group, Hurras al-Deen.

On February 27, pro-al-Qaeda (AQ) Telegram channels began distributing a statement from a group calling itself “Hurras al-Deen” (“Guardians of the Religion”). In its inaugural message, the group demanded action regarding besieged Eastern Ghouta, chiding Muslims for “eating and drinking and living joyfully” during such humanitarian atrocities. It promised Muslims in Ghouta:

…we shall do the best of our efforts to relieve your siege or to stab your oppressor in the waist to paralyze him or distract him from you, for we give our necks to save yours and our blood to save your blood.

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Disarray in the Syrian Jihad is Making Perfect Conditions for an AQ Revival

Al-Qaeda (AQ) found itself on the losing end of a years-long investment in July of 2016 when Nusra Front (NF) leader Abu Muhammad al-Julani announced the group’s leave from AQ to become Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS), thus breaking his pledge to AQ leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Julani, the man who ignited a bloody conflict with the Islamic State (IS) after abandoning Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to establish a new AQ affiliate in Syria, had ironically removed AQ’s formal presence in the country altogether.

But stress the word formal in “formal presence,” because AQ planted its Syrian foundation much deeper than Julani and others may have anticipated.

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The Paris Attacks: Classic Jihadi Principals with Modern Jihadi Capabilities

The Islamic State’s (IS) coordinated terror attack staged throughout Paris on the evening of November 13, 2015—Europe’s most deadly urban terror attack in over a decade—signal a simultaneous return to jihadi ideological roots as well as a new era in tactical evolution and strategic ambition.

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Is Syria Falling to Al-Qaeda?

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There is a great deal of recent news from Syria, most of it bad. But first, the one bright spot: Kobani, a large city on the border with Turkey that has been under siege by the Islamic State (IS) for several months, has been liberated. A combination of U.S. airstrikes and Kurdish boots on the ground forced IS forces to abandon their attempt to take the city, although not before murdering hundreds (if not thousands) and forcing hundreds of thousands of Syrian Kurds to flee into Turkey.

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Southeast Asian Fronts Loom Closer to Jihad

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2014 saw a number of developments further solidifying jihadi attempts to expand their battles to include fronts in Southeast Asia. Jihadi media organizations have continued their efforts to develop content in languages spoken in the region, while al-Qaeda (AQ) even announced the establishment of an official regional wing dedicated to the region.

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