The group's leader Abu Mohammad al-Julani announced the amicable split from al-Qaeda on July 28, adding that the group would not be linked to any foreign party. He also said that the organization changed its name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Front for the Conquest of Syria).
Thus, the new terrorist group will focus its activities on Syria. There are several explanations for this move, according to RIA Novosti.
First, the militants might have tried to become an opposition force, not a terrorist group, in a bid to escape Russian and American airstrikes. Perhaps, in the long-run the terrorists want to be part of the Geneva peace negotiations.
This version could make sense. Previously, some Western-backed Syrian opposition forces opposed labeling al-Nusra Front as terrorists, saying that it was one of the most powerful groups fighting against the Syrian Army.
But even if this plan was real it has not worked out. The Russian Foreign Ministry, the United States Department of State and finally the UN labelled the new-born group as terrorist. As a result, the group is a target for airstrikes and will never take part in the Geneva talks.
Moscow-based political scientist Alexander Perendzhiev assumed that the move could mark the creation of a new extremist project aimed at occupying territories for a "global caliphate."
"It is not merely 're-branding': the decision to change the name has not only been triggered by the desire to sidestep airstrikes. The renaming of the terrorist al-Nusra Front group may mark the beginning of a new project aimed at conquering territories for a global caliphate together with Daesh or instead of this organization," Perendzhiev told RIA Novosti.
At the same time, some analysts say that in fact there is no split in al-Qaeda. They say that the al-Nusra break-up was formal and has no ulterior motive. This is a desperate move in a bid to escape from the Aleppo entrapment via the humanitarian corridor for militants who want to lay down arms.
Meanwhile, Russian military expert Igor Korotchenko suggested that with this move the terrorists are trying to escape the final defeat, seeking to withdraw themselves from the list of terrorist organizations.
"Terrorism is changing colors, but any attempt to withdraw from the onslaught of terrorist organizations can't be recognized as legitimate," Korotchenko said. "The desire of al-Nusra Front to change its color speaks about the success of the fight against this terrorist organization, which bears heavy losses and is trying to get away from the final defeat," Korochenko was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.
Nevertheless, whatever the reasons the new group remains a terrorist organization just like its predecessor. The failed rebranding attempt shows that the terrorists are losing positions and nearing defeat, the article concluded.