Watch: Nusra Front leader admits ideological links to Muslim Brotherhood in Al Jazeera interview

The file photo shows the al-Nusra Front terrorists riding a captured tank near Idlib, northwestern Syria. (AFP)
Updated 05 July 2017

Watch: Nusra Front leader admits ideological links to Muslim Brotherhood in Al Jazeera interview

JEDDAH: The leader of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front admitted ideological links with the Muslim Brotherhood in an interview with Qatari state-funded Al Jazeera news channel.
Abu Mohammad Al-Julani said that while the militant group differed greatly from the Muslim Brotherhood, the two organizations shared the same ideology.
“Al-Qaeda’s ideology is derived from the Holy Qu’ran, Sunnah and Prophet Muhammad successors’ teachings,” Al-Julani said.
He said of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Sayyid Qutb: “He (Qutb) derived his ideology from the same source that we derived ours from.”
But he added: “Although this may be similar to many factions, Al-Qaeda has been interested in practical and serious views: jihad.”
Al-Nusra Front — also known by their Arabic name Jabhat Al-Nusra — is Al-Qaeda’s formal affiliate in Syria and one of the most powerful rebel groups fighting the Assad regime.
He later revealed in the interview that Al-Qaeda not only adopted the same ideological approach, but also shared the same educational teachings as the Muslim Brotherhood.
He explained that books by Qutb were used in the teachings at Al-Qaeda’s mujahedeen preparation centers, where the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is described as a jihadi movement. “We must study all the jihadist movements in the arena,” Al-Julani said.
The Islamic scholar Hassan Al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 1928, and Qutb later shaped it.
Saudi Arabia formally designated the group as a terrorist organization in 2014.
In 2016, the Al-Nusra Front announced in a video that the group was breaking its links with Al-Qaeda and changed its name to Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham — the front of the liberation of Al-Sham, the historical Arabic name for the Levantine region.
“We declare the complete cancelation of all operations under the name of Jabhat Al-Nusra and the formation of a new group operating under the name ‘Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham,’ noting that this new organization has no affiliation to any external entity.”


Thousands return to government-seized areas in northwest Syria: state media

Updated 16 min 54 sec ago

Thousands return to government-seized areas in northwest Syria: state media

  • The Syrian Observatory reported “around 3,000 people” going home from other areas under regime control
  • The Idlib region is one of the last holdouts of opposition forces

DAMASCUS: Thousands have returned to their hometowns in northwest Syria after military advances by government loyalist against militants and allied rebels, state media said Sunday.
“Thousands of citizens return to their villages and towns of the northern Hama countryside and the southern Idlib countryside,” state news agency SANA said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, reported “around 3,000 people” going home from other areas under regime control.
Since August 31, a cease-fire announced by regime backer Russia has largely held in northwestern Syria, though the Observatory has reported sporadic bombardment.
SANA said the returns came amid “government efforts to return the displaced to their towns and villages.”
The Idlib region of around three million people, many of them dispaced by fighting in other areas, is one of the last holdouts of opposition to forces backing Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Moscow announced the cease-fire late last month after four months of deadly violence that displaced 400,000 people, most of whom fled north within the jihadist-run bastion, according to the United Nations.
Regime forces had chipped away at the southern edges of the jihadist-run stronghold throughout August, retaking towns and villages in the north of Hama province and the south of Idlib province.
Syria’s civil war has killed more than 370,000 people since it started in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.
Assad’s regime now controls more than 60 percent of the country after notching up a series of victories against rebels and jihadists with key Russian backing since 2015.
But a large chunk of Idlib, fully administered by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate since January, as well as a Kurdish-held swathe of the oil-rich northeast, remain beyond its reach.