(JNS.org) The Islamic State and al-Qaeda have reportedly reached a deal to reconcile their differences and coordinate joint terror operations in Syria, according to high-level Syrian opposition sources.
According to a statement to The Associated Press by a commander in the Free Syrian Army, the two terror groups met Nov. 2 in the Syrian town of Atareb, west of Aleppo, and agreed to halt infighting and to open up a new joint front against the Kurds in northern Syria.
Sources indicate that a number of terror factions attended the meeting, including Islamic State, the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, the Khorasan Group (an al-Qaeda affiliated terror group comprised of veteran fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan), and two smaller groups, Jund al-Aqsa and Ahrar al-Sham.
The al-Nusra Front was originally one of the most powerful jihadist forces fighting the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. Most of the leadership and fighters for Islamic State originated with al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), which fought against U.S. forces there. But after overrunning parts of northern Iraq, Islamic State became flush with heavy weaponry and cash that it took from the fleeing Iraqi military and banks that it looted, becoming the more powerful of the two jihadist groups.
“If there is less blood being spilled against each other and they don’t have to worry about that, that’s going to make it easier for the jihadis to go after Assad or any western-backed forces,” Tom Joscelyn, an analyst for the Long War Journal website, told The Associated Press.