Jabhat al-Nusra is a rebel organization of which the fighters are in fact jihadists belonging to radical Islam, and not to rebel groups fighting against President Bashar Assad as a mission to overthrow his tyrannical regime. The organization is affiliated with al-Qaeda and it is one of several global Jihad organizations currently operating in Syria.
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Al-Golani's death would be a huge blow to rebels who have been fragmented and outgunned by Assad's forces.
In the last two years, members of Jabhat al-Nusra managed to make substantial impact in Syria and many of the rebels chose to join the organization's front due to its effectiveness, accomplishment on ground and because of the difficulty of more moderate organization to get aid from the West.
The group was established by late 2011, and joined the armed struggle against Assad about nine months after the start of the Syrian civil war. It is a Sunni group, like most of the Syrian rebels, by unlike them, it does not have the support of the international community, and especially the US, due to its jihadist nature and because many of its members are radical Salafist.
The group is active mostly in Aleppo and Damascus, and the West is concerned it is preparing the ground for an al-Qaeda base of operations, similar to Afghanistan and Somalia.
Late 2012 elements in Syria's main rebel group – the Free Syria Army – protested the US's adding of Jabhat al-Nusra to its list of known terror groups. The FSA's chief of staff, Salim Idris, claimed Jabhat al-Nusra is composed of non-radical, educated Syrians who protect the nation against "Assad's gangs," and chastised the West for its lack of support.
He added that "if the West would hold a dialogue with the group's youth, it would discover the opposite of what it believed." He stressed: "Not everyone who grows a beard is a terrorist."
But last April the veil has been lifted and the group admitted it has struck an alliance with al-Qaeda and swore its allegiance to its leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who replaced Osama bin-Laden after his assassination.
According to different reports, al-Golani was one of the firsts who took part in the fighting against the US military during the occupation of Iraq, and was set in charge by al-Qaeda to secure roads inside Syria for jihadists who wish to join the fighting in Iraq.
After the crisis broke out in Syria, al-Golani was sent by al-Qaeda's Iraqi branch to set up Jabhat al-Nusra. In January 2012 he posted a video announcing the birth of the group, and a jihad against the Syrian regime. In the same video al-Golani makes clear the final goal is implementing the sharia, Islamic law, in Syria.
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