al-Qaeda (AQ) has links to various jihadist groups throughout the world and is considered the world’s foremost terrorist organization. In a multi-part series I will be covering a new and highly coordinated group called the al-Nusra Front, which translates as: The Support Front for the People of Syria.
The al-Nusra Front is an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq, but it also finds coordination from AQ elders in Pakistan, Turkey, and Lebanon. The jihadists are believed to receive their orders and mandates from Abu Du’a who is the senior leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Abu Du’a, aka Ibrahim ‘Awwad Ibrahim ‘Ali al-Badri, has been the AQI leader since 2010 and has yet to be apprehended.
The group announced its creation on 23 January 2012 during the Syrian civil war, and was later deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. The group also falls under the following aliases: Jabhat al-Nusrah, Jabhet al-Nusra, The Victory Front, and Al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant. I will continue to refer to them as al-Nusra.
From November of 2011 to December of 2012 the group has claimed responsibility for over 600 attacks and has killed and wounded hundreds if not thousands of Syrians. It is estimated that al-Nusra has approximately 10,000 fighters, but other estimates say they could account for as much as one quarter of the Syrian rebels–that number appears to be on the rise even with the increasing amount of suicide bombers sending themselves to Allah.