London: A radical jihadist group, which has blacklisted by the US as terrorists and wants Syria to be an uncompromising Islamic state governed by sharia, is trying to take over the country’s revolution, a report has said.
Jabhat al-Nusra is well funded, probably through established global jihadist networks, in comparison to moderates.
The Nusra Front is known for some of the bravest fighters on the front lines, but the fundamentalist movement is now focusing on highly effective humanitarian programs that are quickly winning the loyalty of Aleppo’s residents.
According to the Telegraph, imbued with discipline borne of religious dogmatism it is catering to basic needs in a city that lacks everything from working factories to courts.
Chief among hardships was the languishing supply of bread, a staple in Syria without which tens of thousands of the poor would starve.
When rebel fighters seized control of the grain stores around the city, the supply of flour all but ceased.
Locals accused rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) of raiding the stores and stealing the grain to sell, the paper said.
Then, in the past weeks, Jabhat al-Nusra, which is outside the FSA, pushed other rebel groups out of the stores and established a system to distribute bread throughout rebel areas, it added.
The Daily Telegraph gained rare access to Hajji Rasoul, the senior al-Nusra commander, or “emir”, who heads the civil program.
According to the paper, he painted a picture far removed from his organisation’s blood-curdling reputation.
On global jihadist websites it has claimed responsibility for car and suicide bombings that have killed hundreds of civilians as well as military targets across Syria, it said.
For many Syrians Nusra is synonymous with al-Qaeda. Many of their fighters are foreign jihadists; some fought with al-Qaeda in Iraq, it added.