Al-Qaeda Clearing a Path to Dominance in Southern Syria

(Institute for the Study of War) Bryan Amoroso and Genevieve Casagrande - Syrian opposition forces that could serve as a viable alternative to both Syrian President Assad and Salafi-jihadist groups are under attack in southern Syria. A recent wave of assassinations beginning in August 2017 has killed over 11 ranking anti-regime opposition commanders and governance officials in Dera'a and Quneitra provinces. More than half of the 42 assassination attempts targeted former or current U.S.-backed opposition groups. Al-Qaeda seeks to marginalize remnants of U.S.-backed opposition groups in southern Syria to create a sustainable power base along the Syria-Jordan border. The decision by the U.S. to dismantle a covert program to support vetted opposition factions in Syria by December 2017 will likely further embolden and empower al-Qaeda in southern Syria.

2017-11-23 00:00:00

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