On the night from Saturdy to Sunday, 03.07.2016, the official Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (JAN) raided a base of the US-backed TOW-recipient FSA group Jaish al-Tahrir and captured their weapons and ammo. The FSA fighters did not pose any resistance, but this remains unconfirmed for now. In addition, the group also claims JAN arrested their commander Mohamed al-Ghabi in the city of Kafranbel in Idlib province.
Jaish Al-Tahrir is a CIA-vetted rebel group operating in northern Aleppo around Azaz, southern Aleppo with the Islamist Jaish al-Fateh coalition, Aleppo city, Latakia countryside and in southern Hama. The group is estimated to have around 2000-3000 fighters active especially in the northern parts of Syria. Even though the group is US-backed, they have so far not hesitated to ally and fight side by side with JAN.
This latest attack by JAN on US-backed groups, or “moderates”, is part of a larger campaign by the jihadi group to stop US influence on FSA groups. They have already raided and effectively disbanded more than one FSA rebel group over the last few years, for example the popular Harakat Hazzm movement, Division 13 and the Syrian Revolutionaries Front. These small groups are easily overwhelmed by the powerful jihadi groups which seek to control as much territory as possible where they can establish an Islamic Emirate.
So far, there is no more information on the reasons behind this raid and it is unknown what is gonna happen.