The mystery man behind Nusra Front

Abu Mohammad Golani, the head of the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda, has raised many eye-brows among both friends and foes as he continues to allude his enemies.

The mystery man behind Nusra Front

World Bulletin / News Desk

The leader of the Al-Qaeda linked Nusra Front, which is fighting against the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Abu Mohammad Golani, continues to mystify his enemies.

At present, Golani’s whereabouts are unknown. Many are even beginning to wonder if he is still alive. Rumors were circulated in the Syrian media last month saying that he had been killed, but his fighters have denied this, calling the rumors regime propaganda.

Although little is known about him, he is believed to a teacher of classical Arabic and Syrian native who moved to Iraq to fight against occupying U.S. forces. He briefly stayed in Lebanon in 2006 only to return to Iraq to continue the struggle. However, he was arrested by the U.S. army and held at Camp Bucca until 2008. Following this, he rejoined Al-Qaeda and became the head of operations in Mosul.

In 2011 he returned to Syria, where he established the Nusra Front with the support of the head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In January 2012 the group became fully operational in its struggle to defend the Syrian people against Bashar al-Assad’s army. So far, it is estimated that Golani has successfully recruited as much as 7,000 fighters for the Nusra Front.

However, cracks soon started to appear in the relationship between Golani and al-Baghdadi, when Golani denied al-Baghdadi’s claims that Nusra Front had united with Al Qaeda in Iraq under the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Golani said that he is only answerable directly to the head of Al Qaeda, Ayman Zawahiri, who instructed both branches of Syria and Iraq to operate separately.  

Regardless, the ISIL was formed and continues to operate separately from Nusra Front in different parts of Syria, primarily along its northern border with Turkey where it is mainly engaged in fighting Kurdish rebels. At the same time, both of these two branches of Al Qaeda cooperate with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the fight against Assad, despite their disagreements.

Sightings of Golani are few and far between, with many even doubting if he is still alive. However, Islam Alloush, the spokesman for the Army of Islam militant umbrella group, told the Associated Press, “We haven’t seen anything unusual among the ranks of Nusra fighters that suggest their leader has been killed.”

Last Mod: 08 Kasım 2013, 16:25
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