The fighting in Syria is becoming more convoluted and distorted by the day. When the fighting first started, it was in opposition of President Bashar al-Assad and his Ba’athist regime. It still seems as though the overarching goal of the Free Syrian Army (considered more of an idea than an actual organized single unit) is to topple al-Assad and any/all associates.

What They Believe

The al-Nusra Front (ANF) are the most ‘extreme’ of the rebels, and practice tried and true Islamism. I believe that Delwar Hussein, a researcher on South Asian communities in Britain, best defines Islamism as:

The set of political ideologies derived from conservative formulations of sharia law. It holds that Islam is not only a religion, but also a political system that governs the legal, economic and social imperatives of the state, the community and the individual  Islamist movements generally seek to reshape the state by implementing this formulation of sharia law.

It must be believed that beyond the toppling of the current government administration in Syria, the ANF plan to install, by any means neccessary, sharia law upon the country of Syria. This includes fighting against other rebel factions – recently against the Farouq Battalions, who are thought to favor free democratic elections.

Where They Operate

There are an estimated 29 rebel groups fighting in Syria. Although group numbers, size, and areas of operation are fluid, the map below indicates where the ANF and other Islamic fighters operate.