Al-Qaeda-Allied Fighters Capture Rebel-Held Syrian Border Town

Islamist faction takes control of town from the Free Syrian Army

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A Syrian town on the border with Turkey has been captured from the Free Syrian Army — not by forces loyal to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, but by Islamist rebels backed by al-Qaeda. The violent takeover of the town has laid bare the deep rifts that plague the movement to oust Assad.

According to reports from the BBC, the fighting in Azaz, a town just south of the Turkish border and north of Aleppo, broke out after a wounded fighter from the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was filmed at a field clinic by a group of German doctors or someone connected to their work for a production to be used in fundraising back home. The fighter demanded the film be handed over, accusing the man filming him of being a journalist — a dangerous charge in Syria, where Islamist rebels often deem Western journalists to be spies, according to the BBC.

The fighter called for help and a confrontation ensued between ISIS and the Free Syrian Army fighters guarding the clinic. Skirmishes between the two rebel factions have reportedly not been uncommon, and the argument over the film erupted into a full-scale battle for control of a key strategic outpost. Details on the number of casualties are scant but the Associated Press says hundreds have been killed on both sides in what it calls “a war within a war in northern and eastern parts of Syria.”

An eyewitness inside Azaz told the BBC that no one can be seen smoking in the streets — an indication that ISIS is enforcing Islamic law, which bans the use of tobacco.

In response to ISIS taking control of the town, Turkey shut down the border crossing, which had been a lifeline for rebel-held areas through which passed vital humanitarian aid, building materials and food, Reuters reports. Ankara is alarmed at the existence of an extremist Islamist redoubt on its border — never before has an affiliate of al-Qaeda been perched so close to NATO territory.

The sense that there is a growing civil war within the Syrian civil war further complicates an already fraught conflict. Over the long term, the deepening divisions among rebel factions in Syria could serve to help the FSA in its quest for military aid from the West, which is wary of potentially arming anti-Western Islamists. In the short term, though, it plays into Assad’s hands. As the BBC’s Paul Wood writes from near the Turkish border: “If the rebels are fighting each other, they are not fighting the regime.”

(For more on the battle between rebel factions, see the story in this week’s issue of TIME International by Aryn Baker and Jay Newton-Small, available to subscribers here.)

55 comments
HaroonTareen
HaroonTareen

@TIME Terrorists gain from World's neglect of democratic forces and indifference towards atrocities by murderous Asad regime.

fore
fore

50 %  if the rebels are islamic that sure seems in contradiction to mccain and lindsey graham I have little faith in McCain and Graham they want to arm and fight in every revolution. My opinion this islamic awakening has to be worked out by them, if we get involved there will be doubts are motives

yaaboosucks
yaaboosucks

@r3sho journalists always look for a "new" angle in case the "story" goes stale

OswaldSpengler
OswaldSpengler

To bad that Wallstreet and the city of London doesn´t want the "moderate" 15 % or so to rule Syria they want it to be handed over to al-Queida or better al-CIAeda.They guns are shipped to the extremists such they were mainly shipped to the extremists in afghanistan in the 80´s - a time when al-Queida was created----by the US intelligence serivices.

xtallyp
xtallyp

@TIME A. Truce has been brokered in Azaz between FSA and Islamist fighters. Fighting has stopped and the border should be able to reopen.

KrondarGemstone
KrondarGemstone

Has Obama had a chance to send his half-brother and Muslim Brotherhood member Malik Obama a congratulatory muffin basket?

PaulJMaupin
PaulJMaupin

Oh Goody! I am sooo HAPPY Al-Qaeda,  the TERRORISTS!!! THE Ones the USA has used in the name of a endless world war on terror, has captured a Town, HURRAY!!! GREAT GOING OBAMA, we should always share this planet with Terrorists and the ones who want to kill people. HURRAY!!!!

JasonChakey
JasonChakey

What the heck is goig on here?? You mean that the "alternative media" has been right all along?? How many of the weapons our tax dollars have bought and shipped over there are in the hands of terrorists?? How much money have we given to terrorists?? How deep does this really go?? We have to hold the criminals who are in league with the same people who murdered 3,000+ US citizens in NY accountable... You know that our "leaders" have known they were funding al queada all along... In Syria and Libya as well... and who knows where else.

GalacticCannibal
GalacticCannibal

The USA should stay out of this Syrian Civil war. Its none of our business. The USA had its own Civil War in 1861-1865 that killed 800,000 Americans . If the Arabs want to slaughter each other let them.

lwwgaw
lwwgaw

Confirmed: Obama’s Brother In Bed With Terrorists It has been learned that the relationship between President Barack Obama’s half-brother Malik Obama and Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir is much closer than peviously thought Malik is the Executive Secretary of the Islamic Da’wa Organization (IDO) as reported by all major Saudi press, including Okuz.How significant is this?Very significant. The IDO has been created by the Sudanese Government, which is considered by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist. This places Malik Obama in bed with terrorists and working as an official with a terrorist state.

lwwgaw
lwwgaw

I deplore the humanitarian disaster happening in Syria.

But we need to remember – our enemies are fighting our enemies.

It’s Assad/Iran/Hezbollah on one side and the Syrian rebels/al Qaeda/Muslim Brotherhood on the other. Why would we want to get dragged into this?
And don't forget that Obama's dad was a muslim cleric and that Obama has a close relationship with CAIR which is an extension of the muslim brotherhood. And it has been proven that CAIR and the muslim students association have a secret agenda to destroy America from within.

lwwgaw
lwwgaw


Muslims can lie for Allah
The principle of Al-Takeyya

Karl
Karl

That's not possible, John Kerry told Congress that  Al Quaida was not fighting anywhere among the rebels in Syria. That was only a month ago when the government wanted to waste a hundred, million dollar, cruise missiles on Syrian central government targets. Surely he knew they weren't there, because every news story I've read about the conflict for two years mentions them. Surely he didn't lie or the media would have called him on his lie. That's what a free press is all about. Surely your reporter and editors owe us an apology, either for writing falsehoods now, or allowing a man I once voted for for President to get away with saying lies to Congress that we all read in the media without one media outlet calling him on it. The truth is a cheap thing when access to sources is at stake. Even the truth that is a bold-faced lie when the government is trying to drag the USA into a war against the wishes of the US public. Even then we can't trust the media YOU GUYS, to bother with the truth instead of kissing up to the Sec. of State for a good story. Free press? What a joke. 

hrhsar
hrhsar

@TIME @TIMEWorld see when they are involved we go after them send in the drones take them out

YomaMa
YomaMa

Great another disaster in the making- I think Palin of all people said it best - "let mohammed sort it out".   No matter what we do its a no win situation- let the UN and other terrorist nations solve this disaster- not our problem

YehudaElyada
YehudaElyada

This development both complicate and simplify the West powers dilemma; whom to support in Syria. It is now clear that the FSA is no match to Assad's loyalists, but also that a continuation of the current paralysis will eventually lead to "Afghanistanition" of Syria. So, rather than waiting for the situation to resolve without influencing the outcome, the West should start a bidding for its support: let Assad and the FSA compete for packages of Western arms, money, free food and medicine by offering packages of democratic government, rule of law, free market economy and peaceful resolutions of past hostilities. Obviously, the offers should include convincing means of monitoring, enforcing compliance and punishing deviations from the promises made under duress. The winning bidder will gain an effective military support of the Western air and naval forces, for the duration required to stabilize the new state institutions, and as long as the war on terror requires elimination of any group affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

RamondeJsPolank
RamondeJsPolank

SANTIAGO,DR.-There may be some hope at the end of the tunnel ifa ‘ceasefire’ could be accomplished between confronting parties. Next step will be to gather support from the UN General Assembly and the Security Council to intervene peacefully organizing free electoral suffrage. According to unexpected events and circumstances the Rebels would be better off if enabling a peace-pact to negotiate a ‘ceasefire.’ Only path tosolve the refugee crisis now reaching over a millionpeople—optimism.Of course chemical weapons control another chapter.

shorty.barlow
shorty.barlow

That sucks, thanks for arming and training Al Qaeda with our tax money Obama et al.. At least now I don't have to pay my taxes, as that would be directly funding terrorism, and I can't be compelled to do something illegal by my own government.

r3sho
r3sho

@yaaboosucks I wonder whether journalism has always been like this? Trying to squeeze "truths" to fit their narrative.

xtallyp
xtallyp

@spot60spot @TIME The Free Syria Army (FSA) are the moderates seeking democracy. AQ,al nusra, ISIS et alias are terrorists foreign. FSA good

Don_Ko
Don_Ko

@JasonChakey

I don't think you've been following the news so accurately, Jason.  It's been fairly well known to those following the actual action (and not the disinformation and widespread propaganda) that the 'US' and 'west' support FSA-rebel factions (those whom are pro-Syrian National Coalition) and are AGAINST (i.e., condemn) the more radical AQ-linked factions.  Unfortunately, it's the disinformation and propaganda however which clearly confuses a lot of folks, including you it seems.  So no, the USG is NOT supporting these radicalized AQ-linked factions and in fact condemn their war crimes.  The sad reality though, is that the longer the brutal Regime's war-solution and repression has continued, the more prevalent, radical and powerful the extremist factions have become.  

This has been warned about for over a year and is one reason why the international community should have intervened more decisively, perhaps via No Fly Zone, over a year ago to preempt the catastrophe being witnessed today.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

@lwwgaw

Black Jubilee of White America on Horizon
Alexander LEVCHENKO
«Freedom is never granted; it is won» Asa Philip Randolph (1889-1979), a leader in the African-American civil rights  movement

Not much time is left till the jubilee - 400 years since the first black man in chains, the patriarch of the contemporary Afro-Americans, stepped on the North American soil. Some Afro-Americans see the date of 2019 as something destined from above, the date of real freedom when black Muslims will establish a state of their own on the continent. Hundreds of thousands or even millions of US citizens believe it was by God’s will their predecessors went to America by sea as slaves.
There is a plethora of US public organizations created to defend racial, ethnic and religious rights. Few of them think the creation of their own state on the territory of the USA is the only way to achieve justice for colored Americans like the Nation of Islam.


These hundreds of thousands, or even millions of U.S. citizens believe that if the Lord allowed to transport their ancestors from Africa to America in the holds of ships white slavers, it means that this was His will, and all of this is God's intent. The explanation for this they find in the Bible, believing that it is to him belong the words of Yahweh said to Abraham: «...Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years, but I have executed judgments upon that nation, whom they shall serve, will» . And time for a fair trial, according to the descendants of black slaves, is approaching.
Reed more: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2013/03/07/black-jubilee-of-white-america-on-horizon.html 

Openminded1
Openminded1

@lwwgaw just as i have been saying on numerous post for over a month Obama is a Muslim as is his brother Malik who is directly involved with the Muslim Brotherhood. Obama has lied and you bleeding heart liberals bought everything he sold you.

HazeAndDrizzle
HazeAndDrizzle

@lwwgaw Obama's father was a drunkard academic and minor government official. Hardly a "cleric" or role mode for that matter which Obama makes clear.

bryanfred1
bryanfred1

@YehudaElyada So essentially what you're saying is the West should make Assad a de facto ally not only in this conflict but going forward?  The man's a war criminal; not gonna happen.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@shorty.barlow The moron liberals voted for the muslim twice. he is also a racist and that has become apparent . 3 more years morons with the President of Black America.

YomaMa
YomaMa

@shorty.barlow - I hope you are regsitered as a Democrat otherwise your comment gets you an automatic audit by the IRS.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

Journalist of the privately-owned Al Ekhbariya TV channel, Yara Saleh was taken prisoner with her team by the Free Syrian Army (FSA). She was spared and held hostage while a large mobilization in Europe put pressure on the French President to order his FSA friends to release her. Rescued in the end by the Syrian national army, she agreed to respond to the questions of Voltaire Network.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owiOHSIn0W8

PaulJMaupin
PaulJMaupin

@Don_Ko @JasonChakeyare you kidding? You just got the facts in reverse! the US is funding al qaeda and they are flat out terrorists! and they are very extreme! PERIOD. The US Government does not care about who they fund or arm or how dangerous it is to anyone including America because there is private interests there, just like Iraq, just like Libya.  Its a joke now to even think for a second that the US government has its peoples best interests in mind or at heart. What a joke!

Donplus
Donplus

@Sibir_Russia @lwwgaw 

Sometimes you write things that you do not have a clue about and it sounds very ignorant!

Non of the Afro Americans that came to US as slaves were Muslims nor even knew what that was, the region that the trades happened was in the West African Coasts., Non of those were Muslims and till date that is the only region that is chiefly Christians

What is your major mental problem?

All the Afro-American-Muslim is what you created with your white supremacist justice system, non of those ideologues migrated with the slaves but by your continuous  Foreign Territorial Occupation there by bringing refugees here from all works of life and jailing them and they turn your jail system to recruiting grounds to all those you HATE so much due to their skin color  and have to invent reasons to send them to jail, now look out what you crossbred, looking for were to point fingers?

Whatever you sow you will reap in multiple folds, if you sow hatred you will be hated in multiple folds, you can continue your ignorant rant but you also have a chance to accept others as human and relate to them as humans and guess what? they will threat you same 

If it is true that the Afro American Slaves brought Islamic ideology here then Jamaica should  have been like Mecca as that was the trading grounds but they are not even Islamic,

If it was true that Afro American Slaves came here with the Ideology then they should not even be blame as they didnt come here willingly, but by force, false pretense, and in your fore-fathers ill intents  

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

Read the article carefully. Link is present. In the article there is no words indicate that 400 years ago Americans were imported black Muslims. 

Today, Islam spread in Africa, in areas where it had never been. Unfortunately, in the majority is the radical forms of Islam, which fuel terrorism and negatively tell on the long-suffering Africa.