New Al-Qaida Branch Could be Coalescing in Syria

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Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 9, 2013, 10:02 a.m.

Mil­it­ant op­pon­ents of Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar As­sad’s gov­ern­ment might be band­ing to­geth­er in­to an al-Qaida fac­tion more rad­ic­al in its views than the al-Nusra Front, an­oth­er group tied to the ter­ror or­gan­iz­a­tion, U.S. and West­ern in­tel­li­gence in­siders said in com­ments quoted by the New York Times on Fri­day.

The “Is­lam­ic State in Ir­aq and Syr­ia” re­portedly would bring to­geth­er Syr­i­an ex­trem­ists with com­batants from Chechnya, Egypt, Ir­aq, Pakistan and West­ern coun­tries.

Le­gis­lat­ors in Wash­ing­ton fear that planned U.S. weapon ship­ments will not reach West­ern-backed op­pos­i­tion forces soon enough to give them an edge in Syr­ia’s civil war, which has already claimed more than 100,000 lives.

Mean­while, a satel­lite im­age ana­lys­is re­leased on Wed­nes­day provides a be­fore-and-after look at res­id­en­tial areas leveled in the con­flict by gov­ern­ment bal­list­ic-mis­sile strikes, Am­nesty In­ter­na­tion­al said in a state­ment. The or­gan­iz­a­tion as­sisted the Amer­ic­an As­so­ci­ation for the Ad­vance­ment of Sci­ence in au­thor­ing the re­port.

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