The Summer of 2016 is crucial for Jabhat al-Nusra’s dreams to establish something like that of the #Islamic State, formerly known as #ISIS.
Back in 2014, when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his group declared the establishment of their state, everyone was wondering if al-Nusra was going to do the same or not. Many said it was just a matter of time.
al-Julani, the leader of al-Nusra, was always cautious in stating the ambitions of his group. Back in 2014, there were not too many groups that were close in size to al-Nusra, although many of them groups existed then. al-Nusra was stronger and controlled lots of towns and villages, but, many other groups existed.
al-Nusra has its own courts, police, army, and the missionaries who are active in the land they control, or share control in. They also have a very active media department that is constantly producing videos about all of their actions, military or not.
Although al-Nusra can claim military victories here and there in recent months, but, they were not fighting alone. There are other large Jihadi groups that can take as much credit for those victories, like al-Hizb al-Islami al-Turkistani and Jund al-Aqsa; tow very large groups that fight alongside al-Nusra in many battlefields.
Some areas, under the control of Jabhat al-Nusra, are witnessing unrest where the local population are not welcoming al-Nusra like before, like in M’arat al-Ni’man and Jayrud, in al-Qalamun al-Sharqi. The reason for this is the violent actions of Jabhat al-Nusra against the locals. There are reports of people being detained by Jabhat al-Nusra and tortured.
In Jayrud, an Alawite pilot whose SU22 went down was killed by an erratic Jabhat al-Nusra fighter after that pilot was captured alive. By doing this, this Nusra fighter prevented the people from Jayrud, which is out of the control of Bashar al-Assad, from swapping him with their detainees, and brought on them the wrath of al-Assad air force that pummeled them into oblivion causing the local population to go out into the street and force al-Nusra out of the city. al-Nusra claimed to have arrested their fighter.
Jabhat al-Nusra is also the target of the Russian air force operating in Syria.
(to be continued later today)