By Baran Hines
A battlefield leader for the “Syrian Al Qaeda” terrorist group Jahbat al-Nusra claimed the United States is still helping the group fight against Syrian government forces, in an interview with major German newspaper Kölner Stadtanzeiger. Abu al-Ezz, a jihadist commander fighting in the strategic city of Aleppo, said that “the Americans stand on our side” because the US and its allies still support the group with weapons, money, and logistics. The candid statements were quoted by reporter Jürgen Todenhöfer who traveled to Syria for the seventh time during the proxy war which has raged since 2011.
Al Nusra, commonly known as Syria’s branch of Al Qaeda, was declared a terrorist group by the US, United Nations and others in November 2012 after 1 year of terrorist operations. Before this terrorist designation, al-Nusra was supported by the United States as part of what American officials called the legitimate opposition groups fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Abu al-Ezz specifically mentioned the group receives money from US allies including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. Al-Ezz also said Israel supports al-Nusra because Israel is at war with Syria and Hezbollah.
Al-Ezz then noted that al-Nusra and Islamic State (IS) were allies but IS was then used for political and strategic purposes by western countries. “It became clear to us that most of their leaders work with secret security services,” said al-Ezz. Similar suspicions are also widely believed in Iraq as reported last year by the Wall Street Journal. The rise of al-Nusra and Islamic State was a consequence predicted by a 2012 intelligence report leaked to the media in 2015.
When asked how the US supports al-Nusra, al-Ezz first said it was indirect because it was through the support of US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the form of cash payments, weapons, and supplies. However, he then confirmed that al-Nusra received American-made TOW missiles directly from Western intelligence officials including Turkey, Israel, and the United States.
“It is through the American ‘TOW’ that we have the situation in some regions under control,” al-Ezz noted. He then said this is not enough, and that more advanced weaponry is needed.
“We will fight until the downfall of the regime. We will fight Russia and the West because the West does not stand on our side. The West only sends us mujahedin, it facilitates the way of those fighters. Why doesn’t the West support us properly? We have many fighters from Germany, France, Great Britain, America, from all western countries,” al-Ezz said.
The Syrian war ceasefire negotiated by the US and Russia is being ignored by some of the major opposition groups and those groups are allied with al-Nusra, according to al-Ezz. He also confirmed that the ceasefire has been used by the groups to recover and prepare for the remaining battles of the war.
Click here to see the full interview translated in English or view.
Image Credit: TheFreeThoughtProject.com