09:05 GMT +308 December 2019
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    Rebels from al-Qaida-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the Nusra Front, wave their brigade flag, as they step on the top of a Syrian air force helicopter.

    Militant Groups Fail to Unite in Fight Against Syrian Government

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    The leader of the notorious al-Nusra Front refused to break the group’s ties with al-Qaeda for creating a broader coalition of rival extremist organizations in Syria to close the ranks in the face of the advancing governmental army.

    Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest), an alliance of various – and sometimes rival – Islamist groups operating in Syrian Idlib province, was proposed creating a joint force and prompted all involved parties to detach from al Qaeda for that purpose.

    The militant groups fighting against the Syrian army gathered at the secretive meeting some ten days ago, Fars News reported citing local Syrian newspaper al-Watan.

    Abu Mohamad al-Golani, al-Nusra Front’s head, did all he could to persuade all the militant factions to unite in the face of common threat. He even pushed the idea of changing the name of Jaish al-Fath if rival Salafist group Ahrar al-Sham decided to fight under the same leadership.

    At the same time al-Golani noted his group wouldn’t detach from al Qaeda, sharply raising tensions among Jaish al-Fath members and threatening the very existence of the coalition.

    "The situation is charged, the failure of initiatives could cause an explosion," an Takfiri group member in Idlib close to talks outlined to Reuters. "What happened just avoided all-out conflict, all-out battle. But it will be hard to tell what will happen in the future."

    According to Press TV, the meeting that ended with no solution was followed by the clash between Nusra and Ahrar militants few days later. The fight in vicinity of the Turkish border ended up with several casualties in both camps.

    Rebel groups have long tried to form joint forces that could be as strong as Daesh and attract military and political support from international powers.

    The failure of creating a coalition "reflects the collective flight of terrorist groups backed by Saudi Arabia and Turkey from the political table, following their collapses on the battlefield," Turkish Tishrin newspaper wrote.

    So far, the Syrian army has claimed several strategic mountains in Latakia province and started an offensive in the key city of Deir ez-Zor in the northeast of Syria.

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    Tags:
    terrorists, moderate opposition, Syrian conflict, Daesh, Jaish al-Fatah, al Qaeda, Ahrar al-Sham, Al-Nusra Front, Abu Mohamad al-Golani, Idlib, Syria
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