In Syria, Group Suspected of Al-Qaeda Links Gaining Prominence

(Washington Post) Justin Vela and Liz Sly - A shadowy jihadist organization suspected of affiliations to al-Qaeda that first surfaced on the Internet to assert responsibility for suicide bombings in Aleppo and Damascus has stepped onto the front lines. In Aleppo, the al-Nusra Front for the Protection of the People of the Levant, widely known as the Jabhat al-Nusra, is fielding scores of fighters, some of them foreigners. Jabhat al-Nusra's growing visibility highlights one of the reasons the U.S. has been reluctant to arm Syrian rebels. Fears are widespread among Western governments that weapons sent to the rebels could wind up in the hands of extremists and be turned against their benefactors. "This is the premier jihadi organization in Syria right now," said Aaron Y. Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2012-08-20 00:00:00

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